Ban on smart phones by INEC is not constitutional

Deputy Senate President, Professor Ike Ekweremadu, on
Wednesday, berated the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) for its decision to ban the use of smart phones
at polling units, describing the move as unconstitutional and
Senator Ekweremadu made the comment while speaking to
journalists during a condolence visit to the Bayelsa State Governor,
Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, at his country home in Toru-
Orua community in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state
on the demise of his 72-year-old mother, Mrs. Goldcoast Dickson.
The governor’s Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel
Alabrah, quoted Ekweremadu to have said the ban would go
against provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, which gave room
for freedom of communication, expression as well as freedom of
the press, noting that Nigerians are free to express themselves
through the media and free speech.
The Deputy Senate President explained that the National Assembly
was again working on the Electoral Act to pave the way for the
announcement of results of elections at polling booths, stating that
the ban would hamper the free flow of communication, which is
necessary to have a free, fair and credible election.
“Nigeria must take full advantage of technology as it could not
afford to lag behind, especially in the bid to ensure citizens’
participation through recording of results and the electoral
processes,” he said.
He stressed that the international observers would need their smart
phones and other media devices to record and send back
information to their home countries and therefore called on the
electoral umpire to revisit the decision.
His words: “On the issue of INEC’s ban on smartphones at polling
booths, that is completely unconstitutional because we have
provisions in the Constitution that make room for freedom of
communication, expression and even freedom of the Press. That is
what this ban is trying to abridge.
“Nigerians are free to express themselves through the media and
free speech. I believe that in this age of technology, we cannot be
going backwards. So we need to take full advantage of the
accomplishments of technology in our life.
“We are amending the Electoral Act to make provision for the
announcement of results at polling booths and if our people are
unable to communicate, it makes no sense at all. We are hoping
that we can accomplish a free, fair and credible election by the use
of technology.
“It is the use of technology that can help us relay to everybody the
results of various elections at respective polling units. We need to
ensure the people are able to use their smart phones to record
results, election processes and send to everybody. The
international community will be here to monitor our election. The
only way they can have records they will transmit to their home
countries is through the use of electronic gadgets. To say people
should not come to the polling booths with their phones is
completely unacceptable and I want to ask INEC to revisit that
Ekweremadu, who said he also brought a message of condolence
from the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia
Nwodo, on behalf of the Igbo nation, commended Governor
Dickson for his exceptional developmental strides in Bayelsa.
He described the passing of Mrs. Goldcoast Dickson as shocking
and painful but urged the governor to be consoled by the fact that
his mother lived a fulfilled life and never lacked care from her
In his remarks, Governor Dickson thanked the Deputy Senate
President for his thoughtfulness, brotherly concern and solidarity
despite his busy schedule in the service of the nation.
Dickson, who pointed out that the Ijaw and Igbo have been very
close from time immemorial, which is evident in the Igbo names
his great grandfather, who traded with Igbo, gave his children due
to the level of interactions, said within an hour on the River
Forcados you are in Onitsha.
He said his mother died due to cancer and since her passing, his
family had become crusaders against the scourge, which he noted
is decimating not only Bayelsa or the Niger Delta but the entire
He solicited the support and collaboration of the Deputy Senate
President on his establishment of a foundation that would run and
fund a cancer centre in memory of his mother, adding that the
centre would carry out free screening, detection and sensitisation
to curb the menace.

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  1. Good update

  2. Noted

  3. Good update.

  4. Nice update.

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