HomeNewsThe Need to Move Rivers Tribunal to Abuja

The Need to Move Rivers Tribunal to Abuja

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President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, last week directed that the Ebonyi State Election Petitions Tribunal be relocated to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) due to insecurity.

However, the Secretary of the tribunal, Nyior Sekulla, who announced the development in Abakaliki, did not give reason for the decision.

But many people in Rivers State believe the insecurity in the state is far worse than the case of Ebonyi State.

They are also appealing to Justice Dongban-Mensem to equally move the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal to Abuja.

Executive rascality and intolerance of dissent views had plunged Rivers State into a state of insecurity with the resurgence of killings and abductions.

The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Okey Wali (SAN) is the latest victim of kidnapping in the state.

In the build-up to the 2023 general election, the leaders of opposition parties were attacked and detained, while a frontline presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar was prevented from holding presidential campaign rally in the state following attempts on the lives of his key supporters.

The Appeal Court President cannot say that she is not aware of what has been happening in the state.

First, the agents of the state allegedly made dangerous attempts to use the police and other undemocratic means to stop the APC from filing petitions. The lawyers and the support staff of Tuduru Ede (SAN) &Co, who were preparing election petitions for the APC candidates in a hotel in Port Harcourt were unlawfully and illegally arrested.

The police officers also seized all their documents containing the evidence of the alleged fraud in the elections in a bid to stop the APC from filing petitions within the 21 days stipulated by the law.

The agents of the state government had also disrupted a visit by members of the APC to the INEC office, in Port Harcourt, to demand for the Certified True Copies (CTC) of the March 18 election result sheets.

They also dumped fetish materials in front of the INEC office in Port Harcourt.

To ensure the safety of lives of the tribunal members and the lawyers of the petitioners, Justice Dongban-Mensem should move the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal to Abuja too to prevent anyone from attacking, threatening and harassing them.

What happened to Wali is a red flag that should worry the Appeal Court President, tribunal members, lawyers and other judicial officers.

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