Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rivers State have sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop conducting elections on Saturdays, saying it violates their fundamental rights to worship by conducting elections on Saturdays.
INEC typically schedules elections for Saturdays, the same day when Christian faithfuls that are members of the Seventh Day Adventist worship, unlike many other Christian faithfuls of other denominations who worship on Sundays.
According to a suit, PHC/2836/2018, filed by Chief Emeka Anyabelem, Elder Asonye Onwudebe, Felix Minikwu and Chinedu Omesurum, conducting elections on Saturdays not only violates the rights of members of the church to worship, but also disenfranchises them and violates their fundamental rights to freedom of religion.
With the 2019 general elections scheduled to take place on February 16, 2019, and March 2, 2019, both Saturdays, the applicants prayed to the court to restrain INEC from conducting the elections as scheduled.
When the case was brought up in court on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, according to a report by Sahara Reporters, counsel to the applicants, Ahamefule Owurre, said his clients request for elections to be held between Monday and Thursday to allow as many people as possible to participate in the process.
He also asked the court for an adjournment to allow him to reply the counter affidavit of the defense on point of law, leading presiding judge, Justice M. Danagogo, to adjourn the case till December 18 for motions.
The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) are also joined as defendants in the suit.