The Supreme Court on Friday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to create constituencies for the Bakassi people of Cross River State displaced from Bakassi Peninsula in Cameroon.
The Bakassi people were relocated to another part of Cross River State after Nigeria lost the sovereignty over Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon.
The Cross River State Government, had through the state’s Law No. 7, 2007 adjusted the boundaries of two Local Government Areas from where it also created 10 wards from the three Ikang wards in the area.
On February 23, 2012, the Ikang, Esighi, Antigha Ene Eyo and Edihi Idim Ikot Eyi clans of Bakassi Local Government Areas of Cross River State obtained a judgment of the Federal High Court in Calabar directing INEC to conduct governorship election in the 10 newly created wards.
INEC had appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court.
But the Calabar Division of the Court of Appeal on December 6, 2013, dismissed the commission’s appeal and affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court.
The electoral body further appealed to the Supreme Court.
A seven-man panel of the apex court set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Friday, granted INEC’s appeal, holding that only the electoral body was empowered to delineate constituencies.
Justice John Okoro, who read the lead judgment of the seven-man panel, also held that the Court of Appeal was wrong to compel INEC conduct the 2012 governorship election in 10 wards created in the Bakassi Local Government Area by the Cross River State Government.
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