The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may be dragged to court as Nigerian printers under the umbrella of the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria have threatened to sue the commission for allegedly printing a large chunk of its electoral materials abroad.
According to the agency, printing electoral materials outside the country is illegal and violates the CIPPON Act 24 of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The council has the responsibility of regulating, controlling, managing and administration of printers, the business of printing and other printing related-matters in Nigeria.
In a chat with Punch on Thursday, CIPPON President Olugbemi Malomo disclosed that INEC had been awarding printing jobs to local printers but outsourcing contracting printing contracts to foreign firms is a violation of the law.
Elaborating further, Malomo said by law, INEC is obligated to award the printing of all electoral materials, including ballot papers to local printers through CIPPON.
He cited Section 23b of the CIPPON Act, which reads: “In regulating the registration of printing practitioners, the council ensures that no firm or partnership shall practise as printers in Nigeria unless it is registered by the council.”
“There was an increase in patronage of our members. To that extent, that advocacy was meaningful.
“The second point is what percentage were we able to get? We have not been able to collate that.
“Was there any percentage (in INEC printing jobs) that was taken out?
“Certainly, but we don’t know what percentage that was taken out.
“The next level of advocacy, we are thinking of doing and I want you to quote me on this; is that we need to approach a court to interpret the law because the Act that established us says, ‘If you are not our member, you can’t get a printing job in Nigeria.’
“But we are aware that they patronise people who are not our members, so, we will eventually seek an interpretation of that (in court).
“But by and large, more people are patronised but we can’t say at what level or how many people were patronised.
“But with the help of the fourth estate of the realm (the media) and for the benefit of all Nigerians, we all need to work together.
“People are taking the jobs out of the country and I can tell you it is not because of lack of capacity, it is because of other interests”, he said.