Law News
Tribunal frustrating my appeal, Abe cries out

Erstwhile Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum downstream, Senator Magnus Abe, has alleged a deliberate plot by the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, to frustrate his appeal against its judgment.

Magnus Abe

The Justice Mohammed Sai’du Sifawa-led three-man tribunal had in a judgment it delivered on October 13, dismissed a petition that was lodged before it by Senator Abe and the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The tribunal, went ahead and affirmed Senator Olaka Nwogu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the bona-fide winner of Rivers South East Senatorial seat.

While dismissing Abe’s petition for want of merit, the panel said it was convinced that election was duly conducted in that Senatorial District on March 28, 2015.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the panel, Abe vowed to take the matter before the appellate court, insisting that the verdict of the tribunal was nothing but “ judicial 419.”

Briefing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Abe lamented that the tribunal had refused to furnish him with a copy of the judgement and record of its proceedings, six days after the judgment was delivered.

He claimed that spirited effort by his team of lawyers to secure the court processes had not yielded any fruit.

According to him, request for release of the judgement was  to enable his lawyers to study it holistically to be able to raise solid grounds of appeal within the 21 days time frame allowed by the law.

He said applications his lawyers submitted before the tribunal with a view to getting the required records, were totally ignored, saying “we have only 21 days to file an appeal against the judgement of the tribunal and the tribunal has already taken more than six days out of that for no reason whatsoever, How many days will then be left for me and my lawyers to study the case and prepare the appeal?”

He appealed to Nigerians in whatever position not to play god, saying the Rivers State APC was of the view that if the judgement was allowed to stand, it would translate to an open ticket for politicians and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials to do whatever they could on election day to produce results either by hook or by crook.

“It is important for the future of Nigeria that we appeal this judgement, the tribunal having delivered its judgement has become functus officio in the case. They should assist and not frustrate our efforts to test the judgement at the appeal tribunal,” Abe said.

While stressing that he had great respect and confidence in the Judiciary, Abe urged judicial authorities to intervene in his case to ensure that the quest of the APC for justice in Rivers State was not frustrated.

“We wish to humbly draw the attention of the President of the Court of Appeal and indeed all judicial authorities to intervene and direct the tribunal judges to release our records accordingly. As Law abiding Nigerians we draw the attention of the public to this dangerous development and appeal to all lovers of justice to speak up before it is too late”, he added.

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