The Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the approval to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the upcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections.
This decision followed an application by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate Peter Obi, who had requested the court to prevent INEC from tampering with the information in the BVAS machines until due inspection is conducted and certified true copies (CTC) of them issued.
However, a three-member panel of the court of appeal led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh granted INEC’s request to reconfigure the BVAS machines for this week’s elections. The panel argued that restraining the electoral umpire from reconfiguring BVAS would affect the conduct of the gubernatorial and assembly polls. They also added that the information on the BVAS machines would be uploaded into the back-end server, which cannot be tampered with.
Nevertheless, the court mandated INEC to allow the LP and Peter Obi to inspect and carry out a digital forensic examination of the electoral materials used to conduct the polls. Additionally, they must be provided with the certified true copy of the result of the physical inspection of the BVAS.
INEC’s request to reconfigure the BVAS machines for the gubernatorial and assembly elections was granted by the Court of Appeal in Abuja. The BVAS system was first used by INEC during the 2019 general elections and is used to authenticate voters using biometric technology. The system consists of two separate devices – a smart card reader and a fingerprint scanner, which are used to verify the identity of voters.
The LP and Peter Obi’s request to prevent INEC from tampering with the information in the BVAS machines was due to concerns about the credibility of the electoral process.