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Borno Senate Seat: Petition Accuses 6 Justices Of Misconduct, Seeks NJC Action


The controversy over the judgment on the Borno South Senatorial seat has ended with a petition filed against three Justices of the Court of Appeal at the National Judicial Council (NJC) over alleged misconduct.

In the petition addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is also the Chairman of the NJC, the petitioner, Sesugh Akume, a political and social analyst, alleged that the judges of the tribunal as well as those of the appellate court misconducted themselves and arrived at a perverse judgment.

The affected Justices of the Court of Appeal are Justice Biobale Abraham Georgewill; Justice Folashade Ayodeji Ojo, and Justice Peter Chudi Obiora.
They were alleged to have delivered a perverse judgment in appeal No: CA/G/EP/SEN/04/23, on November 2, 2023 in the Abuja division of the court.

Also petitioned are the three Judges of the Borno State National Assembly Election Tribunal, who dismissed the petition No: EPT/BOR/SEN/02/23 in Kudia M.Saluman & PDP V INEC, APC & Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume.

The judges are Justices M. E Anenih; A. I Ityonyiman and O.A Adeniji.

The petition which was filed under the code of conduct for judicial officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016, and section 2 of the Code, alleged that in the said election petition judgment, the Judges arrived at many conclusions that the Court of Appeal found to be perverse and repeatedly stated so on the record.

“The tribunal held that further evidence provided in the response to a counter-filled by the opposing side was inadmissible for being filed out of time as it ought to have been filed from the onset.

“It held that any testimony given by an individual perusing document tendered was ‘mere’ hearsay so long as the individual was not physically present when the documents were produced.”

The petitioner referred to the above as “the two of the numerous ludicrous holdings by the tribunal to arrive at what appears to be a predetermined judgment walking from the answer to the question, just to return the 3rd respondent (Sen.Ndume) as the duly elected Senator for Borno South”.

“It is worth noting that aides and supporters of Ndume had details of the tribunal judgment and gleefully shared the outcome of the judgment on the morning of September 8, before it was read in the afternoon.

“It then begs the question ‘How did the supporters get details of the outcome of a judgment that was yet to be delivered?
Akume alleged that the Court of Appeal in its perverse judgment dismissed most of the findings of the tribunal but in the end, still upheld its judgment.

“The Court of Appeal, for instance, held that the appellants did not prove a case of forgery, mutilation, defacing of results sheets having seen the forged, mutilated, defaced results sheets, or how the hundreds of forged, mutilated defaced result sheets, affected the outcome of the election.

“The court held to stringent and impossible requirements to prove the same even though forgery has repeatedly been defined to include altering an original document.

“The Court of Appeal at page 42 of the judgment, per Georgewill JCA, conceded that: ‘I find the evaluation by the lower tribunal of the evidence of Pw1- Pw47, the evidence of Rw1, and the totality of the evidence led before it by parties, was flawless and the findings and decisions on the merit of the claims of the appellants against the respondent are unassailable and must be allowed to stand.

“And yet, the same court upheld the judgment of the tribunal! It is judicial abracadabra as this which makes no meaning to the average reasonable person that continues to bring the judiciary to disrepute and erode whatever confidence the public might have had in the independence, integrity, impartiality, and respectability the judiciary in Nigeria had.”

The petitioner therefore called on the NJC to investigate the complaint and bring the offending judicial officers to book, to begin redeeming the standing and Image of the judiciary.

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