Tribunals: INEC laments lawyers’ high fees

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The Independent National Electoral Commission

The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed worry over the amount it is spending on lawyers at various election petitions tribunals in the country.

It has, therefore, set up a committee on the management of election petitions and how to mitigate the cost.

The acting chairman of the commission, Hajia Amina Zakari, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja on Wednesday, observed that the numerous petitions at the election tribunals where the commission was joined “as respondents, subpoenaed to testify (and) at the same time ensuring the provision of materials to these tribunals at enormous cost” is taking its toll on the management and staff of the INEC.

She said that the commission, which is expected to defend its role in the conduct of the elections, had to deploy its in-house and external solicitors to appear for and on behalf of the commission.

She said, “This informed our desire to ensure a better management of the various election petitions involving the commission, thus the setting up of this committee.”

The interim INEC boss called on the members of the committee to employ all modalities necessary, including interviews, visits and reviews in the course of its assignment.

According to her, “This committee is also expected to study the issues surrounding the tribunals, especially as they relate to the utilisation of human and material resources, the roles of INEC staff, the roles of our external solicitors and advice on the best manner to manage the issues, and come up with recommendations.

“The report and recommendations of the committee would be further circulated to our various stakeholders in the judiciary and Civil Society Organisations to fine-tune and incorporate the recommendations in the commission’s processes. The recommendation may also be a basis for further review of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly.”

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