The Presidency has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to drag it into their current “smear campaign” against the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
In a statement on Sunday, the Presidency debunked all claims that an arm of the government had indicted the President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal.
“Reports claiming that an agency of the government, the Department of State Services, DSS has indicted Bulkachuwa of corruption are the latest of this sponsored campaign aimed at causing disaffection between the Executive and the Judiciary, the two arms of government that had operated smoothly under the present dispensation,” the Presidency said.
The statement further stressed that it is offensive to link the Presidency with the campaign against Justice Bulkachuwa.
It read, “While the PDP and its candidates are free to exercise their right to challenge the results of the 2019 presidential election, it is unacceptable to drag the name of the President or other organs of the executive branch into the campaign of character assassination against the President of the Court of Appeal.”
The Presidency in its communique through Mr. Garba Shehu, argued that the DSS doesn’t conduct its duties in the manner so described by the PDP.
It (the Presidency) further argued that the opposition party cannot use a fake security report to drag the presidency into a smear campaign against the President of the Court of Appeal.
The Presidency also said that PDP’s attack on judges because the outcomes of cases don’t favour them, and keeping quiet when the verdict is in their favour, smacks of insincerity, double standard, and mischief.
“Intimidating and impugning the character of judges in order to force them to bow to blackmail is against the spirit of an independent judiciary.
“The PDP praised the verdict of the Osun gubernatorial election tribunal because it favoured them, but they are now singing a different tune because they lost their appeal.
“We cannot keep changing the definition of an independent judiciary to suit our political convenience and bias without ultimately creating chaos in the system.”
According to the Presidency, if the PDP continues to blackmail and smear judges with fake news stories, the nation will ultimately find itself dealing with a situation where judges may be afraid to handle cases, thereby creating delays in the dispensation of justice.
The Presidency further argued that if it had any influence on election petition tribunals, APC candidates wouldn’t have lost a single case before the courts.
Let The Court Decide El-Zakzaky’s Fate – Presidency
The Presidency appeals to El-Zakzaky-led Shiite members to desist from needless violent street protests and await the decision of the court in Kaduna where their leader is currently being tried.
The issue of El-ZakZaky is before the court in Kaduna and his supporters should focus on his on-going trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.
It is wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time in order to get justice for anybody accused.
The destruction of public property in the name of protest is not within the right of this group of Shiite members and no government anywhere would have tolerated a situation where any group would take over public roads in cities as they have done in Abuja and interfere with the rights of other citizens who are prevented from reaching their destinations.
We imagine a situation where families are taking their loved ones to hospital for emergency treatment and they are held up needlessly by the protesters. No government anywhere in the world would turn a blind eye to this unlawful behavior.
As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain. The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted everyday.
These rallies and street dances ostensibly to openly insult the President and other leaders, threatening bloodshed will lead nowhere because President Buhari will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free. At the same time, the administration is determined to enforce the decision of the court clearly issued. The Buhari administration has absolutely no hand in the on-going court case and the courts are free to determine the bail request and the final outcome.
The mentality that you are above the law and that your own rights are superior to other people’s rights is unacceptable.
You can’t be provoking other citizens by interfering with their own rights on public roads and disrupting their businesses and call it democratic freedom. In democratic traditions, their rights end where the rights of others begin.
Law abiding citizens must avoid deliberate lawlessness. It is not within the rights of any group to enter protected public institutions such as the National Assembly by force to attack police and destroy public and private property.
It is always advisable to embrace dialogue and eschew violence in all our actions so that we can continue to live together in peace.
We therefore appeal to the Shiite group to stop deliberate provocations that result in violence and fatalities and allow the trial of El-ZakZaky to take its course.
Atiku Gets 55 Cartons of Documents From INEC, Closes Case
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday produced the documents which the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, in Abuja called for on Wednesday at the instance of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The documents contained in 55 cartons ahead of Friday’s sitting when the petitioners are expected to close their case.
As of Wednesday, which was the ninth of the ten days allocated to them to present their case, the petitioners had only called 58 out of its 400 proposed witnesses.
The petitioners are, by their petition, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the February 23 poll.
The tribunal of five judges led by Justice Mohammed Garba had on Wednesday ordered INEC to produce the documents by noon on Thursday.
This followed the complaints by the petitioners that the subpoenas issued and served on INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and the commission’s Residential Electoral Commissioner in Zamfara State to produce the documents had not been complied with.
The tribunal had on Wednesday adjourned the case till Friday, but the counsel for the PDP and Atiku, Chris Uche (SAN), attended the Thursday’s proceedings scheduled for hearing in respect of other petitions filed by the Hope Democratic Party and the Peoples Democratic Movement.
Uche said his presence in court was to ensure INEC’s compliance with the Wednesday’s order of the tribunal.
At about the time the five-man panel was to recede to chambers to write a ruling in respect of PDM’s petition, Uche informed the bench of his intention in court on Thursday.
In reaction, Justice Garba asked for update from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN).
Replying, Usman informed the tribunal that the “documents had been substantially produced.
“It is a very tedious task, but we have to obey the court’s order.”
Within the period of the one-hour break observed by the members of the tribunal, INEC officials had brought in a total of 55 boxes of documents into the court room.
When the tribunal resumed sitting, INEC’s lawyer informed the panel that the order of the court had been complied with.
Pointing to the cartons of documents lined up in the courtroom, Usman said since the order of court was not for INEC officials on whom the subpoenas were earlier served to testify, the Director of Legal Services, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola, was present to represent the commission.
He also said there was a cover letter signed by the secretary to INEC, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, accompanying the documents.
He noted that the request by the petitioners for result sheets for the National Assembly rerun election in Zamfara State were not available as no such election was conducted.
Northern Coalition to Buhari: We’ll Hold You Responsible if Any Herdsman is Killed in the South
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) says it will hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible if any northerner is attacked in the south.
Abdul-Azeez Sulieman, spokesman of the group, said this in a statement on Thursday.
The statement was released after Buhari told herdsmen to disregard a call to vacate the southern part of the country.
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had asked herdsmen to leave the southern part of the country if their safety is no longer guaranteed.
However, Suleiman accused southern leaders of instigating violence against herdsmen after the murder of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader.
“A meeting with the Northern elders was fixed for Tuesday, 15th July 2019. We went to the meeting with a prepared position which we presented to the leadership of Northern Elders Forum. We highlighted the utterances made by the southern leaders including decisions taken by some notable political, religious and cultural leaders of the south,” he said.
“It is apparent that government’s initial silence throughout the recent weeks when various southern leaders and regional organizations were busy issuing incendiary threats and vituperation against the Fulani and northerners living in the south smacked of discriminatory application of this important constitutional provision.
“It is astonishing that the death of the daughter of an Afenifere chieftain in the hands of unknown assailants, painful as it is, should trigger more robust and timely response than that of the large scale and massive killings being witnessed in the above mentioned northern states.
“CNG wholeheartedly welcomes the assurance given by Mr. President and his government to protect and guarantee the safety of all Nigerians anywhere they are, including the threatened herdsmen in the south. We, however, wish to remind Mr President and the government that northerners would hold them fully responsible should any one of them fall victim of the consequences of the concerns we raised.”
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