Ekweremadu claims ban on smartphones by INEC illegitimate

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, has condemned the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to ban the use of smartphones inside polling booths.

He said the directive is unconstitutional and unacceptable.

Ekweremadu made his position known on Wednesday during a condolence visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, at his country home in Toru-Orua, in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the state on the demise of his 72-year-old mother, Mrs Goldcoast Dickson.

The Special Adviser to governor on Public Affairs, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted Ekweremadu as saying that 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.

Ekweremadu noted that Nigerians were free to express themselves through the media and free speech.

He said, “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.

“The international observers would need their smart phones and other media devices to record and send back information to their home countries. “On the issue of INEC’s ban on smart phones at polling units, 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.”

He added, “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.”

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