Law News
Ekiti Crisis: CNPP Writes CJN, Urges Relocation of Courts to Abuja


More reactions yesterday trailed the attack on a sitting judge in Ekiti State by suspected supporters of the state Governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, with the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) expressing anger over the incident.
The CNPP called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Aloma Mukhtar, to relocate the two courts to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for speedy dispensation of justice.

This came as a former Governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki,  described the current security situation in Ekiti State as a big threat to Nigeria’s nascent democracy, political stability and judicial independence.
According to the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, the group said: “CNPP cannot recollect where such bizarre and brazen assault on temple of justice took place in recent times except in Uganda under Idi Amin and in banana republics of yester-years – Burma and Latin America.

“The CNPP is outraged over the desecration and tragic assault on the temple of justice in Ekiti State on September 22 and 25, resulting in assault of judges and naked beating of Justice John Adeyeye and subsequent closure of courts in the state.
“Our understanding of what triggered off the mayhem of September 22, was that political thugs allegedly associates of Fayose, the governor-elect of Ekiti State, frowned at the audacity of  Justice Isaac Ogunyemi to rule in favour of jurisdiction to try a case involving the governor- elect.

“What emboldened the thugs to move violently on September 25 to sack the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal was the siddon-look or sheer indifference of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, in whose full glare the brutal attack took place.
“Feeling highly insecure, since the security agencies had become accomplices of the thugs, the Chief Judge of State shut down the courts in the state.
“We now ask, what made the governor-elect to assume that he will loose the case, which hearing has barely commenced? Has Fayose, by this ignoble act, not wittingly or unwittingly vindicated those who felt that Ekiti State voters voted in error?

“It is on this score that we call on the CJN and Chairman of NJC to as a matter of urgent national importance relocate the two courts to Abuja for speedy dispensation of justice.”
Meanwhile, Saraki, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), urged the NJC, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Body of Benchers and other related judicial bodies to come to the rescue of the judiciary.

He added: “They must also condemn this act and show concern in respect of this barbaric attack to one of their own.”
In a statement made available to journalists yesterday, the Senate Committee Chair on Environment and Ecology, challenged President  Jonathan, to speak up and condemn the current crisis in Ekiti State,  which was allegedly ignited by thugs believed to be sympathetic to the cause of the PDP in the state.

“A situation where the independence of our judiciary and its  institutions in particular and the office of our respected judicial officials are no more secured and safe  to discharge and practice their constitutional responsibility and professional roles respectively,  calls for a signal that anarchy is about to set in to our polity.
“It is unfortunate that at a time when we as a nation are battling high rate of insecurity and insurgency across the country and such assault is being unleashed on a Judge of a High Court on official duty, brings a deeper thought to the level of leadership we are providing to this country.

“It is appalling that since the attack on one of the High Court judges in the state, the federal government, the presidency and the ruling party has either refused, neglected or failed to make a formal pronouncement on this unwarranted attack. This is a sign of bad leadership. A precarious situation of this nature should not be sacrificed on political expediency.  This is unacceptable.
“I hereby call on the federal government, the presidency, NJC, NJI, NBA and other relevant private and public institutions to make a pronouncement forthwith without delay and condemn this criminal atrocity and act of affront to our collective sensibility.

“This act must stop and government must stop it. What impression are we giving the outside world where the sanctity of the rule of law has been undermined? It should not be under any guise.”
On its part,  the Osun State chapter of the APC said the attack on the judiciary in  Ekiti State is an alleged plan of President Jonathan to  cause crisis in the South-west in a bid to capture the region and win the 2015 presidential election.
The Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, said this in a statement he made available to journalists in Osogbo.

The APC also described the governor-elect of Ekiti State, Fayose, as the arrowhead of the PDP’s alleged plan to execute the plan of the president.
The party, which accused Fayose of being behind the attack on the court in Ekiti State, said such attack portended a grave danger to the nation’s democracy except those behind it were brought to justice quickly.

But the Osun State branch of the PDP has equally accused the APC in the state of planning to commit arson using thugs who would disguise as members of the  PDP.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP in Osun State, Mr. Diran Odeyemi, alleged that the APC in the state was also planning to cause massive crisis just like the one in Ekiti State in order to stop the Election Petitions Tribunal from sitting.
Also, the Secretary of the Ilesa branch of the NBA, Mr. Olayinka Sokoya, condemned the attack on judges and lawyers inside the courtroom.

The NBA in statement signed by its Secretary in Ilesa, Mr. Olayinka Sokoya, said those who sponsored the attacks should be punished according to the law.
Sokoya said it was disheartening that a judge could be so attacked within the premises of the court while security agencies were still in the state.
However, the Nigerian Army and the police in Ado-Ekiti yesterday foiled an alleged reprisal attack following the protest on Friday against the assassination of the former Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, Mr. Omolafe Aderiye.

The reprisal attack was allegedly planned by members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) due to the vandalism by the protesters of the property of one of their leaders, Mr. Rotimi Olabiwonnu, a rival of the deceased.
But the timely intervention of the soldiers and police who rolled out their vans to prevent the situation as normalcy was restored to the capital city.
While the armed regular and riot policemen as well as army patrolled the streets, men of the Department of State Security (DSS) were at the NURTW park along Ikere Road.

The state Police Commissioner, Mr Taiwo Lakanu, who said in a statement in Ado Ekiti yesterday that the police received an intelligence report that some hooligans within the state and their accomplices outside the state were planning to wreak more havoc, consequently placed more policemen on red alert to prevent the bandits from carrying out their nefarious activities anywhere in the state.
Lakanu also ordered the deployment of adequate manpower to embark on extensive vehicle and foot patrols and thorough searching of vehicles and pedestrians so as to forestall importation of dangerous weapons.

The statement by the state police spokesman, Mr. Victor Babayemi, said: “In view of the current happenings in the state, the Commissioner of Police wishes to warn that any person or group of persons that have no lawful business in the state to stay clear. He further warned that the full weight of the law will be visited on any individual or group fomenting, inciting, aiding or abetting the commission of crime in any part of the state.”
This was as the PDP in the state raised the alarm that the APC was allegedly importing thugs into the state from Lagos to cause mayhem in the state under the guise that they are PDP supporters.

The state PDP  Publicity Secretary, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, in a statement in Ado Ekiti yesterday called on security agencies to be on the look out for the trouble makers.
“Ekiti people who gave their mandate to Ayodele Fayose on June 21 are their targets and as well the PDP members. The APC thugs are on revenge mission to avenge the defeat of Kayode Fayemi in the June 21 election and for aborting last Monday’s judicial coup,” he stated.

But the APC described the PDP allegation as reversed psychology, saying the PDP was only selling a dummy of what it intended to do.
The state APC Publicity Director, Mr. Segun Dipe, said the APC had no reason to import thugs, saying: “We are in government, are we going to import thugs to disrupt it? We know those who are capable of importing thugs.”

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