A state high court in Yola has barred the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting the supplementary governorship election for which is scheduled March 23 in Adamawa State.
The Adamawa State High Court, presided by Justice Abdulaziz Waziri, granted an interim injunction barring INEC from conducting the supplementary polls in the 44 polling units where voting either did not hold during the March 9 governorship election or was cancelled
The high court judgement was a sequel to a suit filed by the governorship candidate of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRRD), Rev Eric Theman, who questioned non-inclusion of his party logo for the governorship election by INEC.
The Adamawa governorship election had been declared inconclusive by INEC on Monday morning after it collated results from the 21 LGAs of the state and arrived at a margin of lead between the two leading parties to be lower than the number of registered voters in polling units where voting was cancelled.
The commission announced Tuesday that it would conduct a supplementary election on March 23 in the affected polling units, but a sign that the current suit might come up emerged the day after the election, March 10, when the MRDD candidate cried out that his party logo was not on the ballot paper, and urged INEC to cancel the election.
“I reject the election and urge INEC to stop the process of announcing the results immediately. My party is not on the ballot paper and I will reject whatever is the outcome,” Theman had said.
Second Prosecution Witness Testifies In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT
A former director in charge of political office at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Mr Awal Yakassi, has given his testimony in the alleged non-declaration of asset case against the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Mr Yakassi testified on behalf of the Federal Government as the second prosecution witness on Thursday during the resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
He told the Tribunal that he was the one who attended to Justice Onnoghen when he submitted two of his asset declaration forms in December 2016.
The witness said he received the forms and signed on them and provided the judge’s representative with two acknowledgement slips for receiving the forms.
Under cross-examinations, he noted that he was not served any subpoena to appear before the Tribunal.
When asked if he was at the Tribunal giving evidence as an officer of the CCB, Yakassi said he was giving evidence as a person who worked in that office in the past since he has retired.
He gave an affirmative response to a question as to whether he was a member of the management of CCB as a director in the bureau up until his retirement.
He also responded in the same manner when asked if as a member of the management of the CCB, he took instruction from the chairman and other members.
When asked if he has never heard about Code of Conduct Standards Operating Procedures, the witness, however, refused to answer and asked the lawyer how many he has heard.
At this point, counsel to Justice Onnoghen asked the Tribunal for protection but the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, said he was there to protect everybody, but the counsel should not harass the witness.
The counsel consequently asked again, and the witness said he has heard about the rule.
Asked if he knew that the commencement date of that rule was January 27, 2017, the witness said no.
Yakassi was, thereafter, as how many staff he had under his department and their ranks.
He said he has left the service and cannot recall.
When asked how many years he spent at the CCB, the witness said 29 years.
The witness told the Tribunal that he cannot recall how many judicial officers were given asset declaration forms while he was in service.
He also said he does not know if any member of the public can have access to anybody’s asset declaration form, or if it was only the chairman that can approve such.
Yakassi was then handed exhibit one which was the petition written against Justice Onnoghen.
He, however, said he had no knowledge of it.
Asked if he was shown the petition on January 11, 2019, when he made a statement to the investigative officer of the bureau, he gave a negative response.
The witness also said he was not shown the originals of exhibit 2 and 3, but his counsel said he should be shown.
The documents were subsequently shown to him and the witness said it was only the photocopies that were shown to him.
He told the Tribunal that he had no knowledge of the organization that wrote the petition.
Court Stops INEC From Going On With Collation Exercise In Bauchi
The Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from proceeding with the collation, conclusion and announcement of the result of the governorship election in Bauchi State held on March 9, 2019.
Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the order on Tuesday on the strength of an ex parte application filed by the All Progressive Congress and the incumbent governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar.
He held that the order would last till the determination of the suit brought before the court by the two plaintiffs.
In the ex parte motion, the APC and Governor Abubakar prayed the court for an order of Interim Injunction restraining INEC from resuming, concluding or announcing the result of the Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State in respect of the election to the office of Governor of Bauchi State.
Justice Ekwo had on Monday while ruling on the ex parte ordered INEC to appear before him on Tuesday to show cause why the order sought by the two plaintiffs ought not to be granted.
Instead of complying with the order of the court, INEC represented, by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Tanimu Inuwa, approached the court with a motion challenging its jurisdiction.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ahmed Raji, however, objected to the application of INEC, informing the court that the order issued on Monday asking the electoral body to show cause why the requests of the plaintiffs should not be granted had not been obeyed.
Responding, Inuwa admitted that the order had not been complied with and requested to address the court orally on the issue.
The judge, however, refused to grant the request.
Justice Ekwo held that since the ex parte application was in writing and duly served on INEC, it behoved on the defendant to appear before the court with a written or formal response.
In his bench ruling, the judge granted the interim injunction restraining INEC from resuming, concluding and announcing the governorship election result in Bauchi State, pending the determination of all issues raised by the plaintiffs in their originating summons.
Justice Ekwo also granted an accelerated hearing in the matter and ordered parties to appear before him on Wednesday to present their positions in the substantive matter.
The plaintiffs in the suit are challenging the decision of INEC to resume collation of results of the election that was earlier declared inconclusive.
They prayed the court to compel the electoral umpire to go ahead with a rescheduled election slated for March 23, instead of reversing itself on the earlier announcement.
Offa Robbery: We Were Forced to Implicate Saraki, Say Suspects
The three men charged to court over the April 5, 2018, bank robbery in Offa, Kwara state, told a high court in Ilorin, Kwara capital, that the confessional statements admitting to the crime, were obtained under duress.
The police charged Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye and Adeola Abraham with criminal conspiracy to rob the banks, murder of nine policemen and other citizens, and illegal possession of firearms.
Testifying while being led in evidence in the trial-within-trial by Mathias Emeribe, their counsel, Akinnibosun said he was tortured and threatened to make confessional statements.
Akinnibosun alleged that Abba Kyari, deputy commissioner of police, also asked him and the other accused persons to implicate Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“Abba Kyari told me to say that the Senate President Bukola Saraki gave me the guns for the operations. But I declined to do contending that my life is at stake,” he said.
”He promised that they would reward me handsomely and set me free if I can indict Senator Saraki. When I disagreed, they called some policemen to take me back to the cell. During this time my hands were tied to my legs.”
Akinnibosun added that he was the leader of Kwara South Liberation Movement, mobilising young jobless graduates for Rafiu Ibrahim, senator representing Kwara south district.
”The essence is to secure government jobs for the boys,” he said.
Akinnibosun, Ogunleye and Ibrahim gave graphic details of their experience in police custody in Abuja.
They alleged that one Vincent , an inspector, allegedly shot dead five men at the police IRT “theatre room” during one of their encounters.
The trio alleged that it was in the same “theatre room” that Vincent otherwise known as “Mr Torture”, shot dead Michael Adikwu, also a suspect, for failing to indict them in the robbery incident.
Ogunleye said: “They brought the late Adikwu to implicate us but when he said he had not met any of us in his life, Mr Torture shot him to death.”
After listening to the accused persons’ testimony, Halimat Salman, the presiding judge, adjourned the case till March 25, for continuation of trial.
Hitila Hassan, prosecution witness, told the court that the suspects voluntarily gave their statements under his supervision.
Lead prosecuting counsel, sought to tender the statements as exhibit but defence counsel objected.
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