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Ekiti tribunal begins sitting, shifts venue

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The Justice Suleiman Belgore-led three-man Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal yesterday began sitting at the Ado Ekiti High Court amid disruptive tendencies of hoodlums wielding various dangerous weapons to frustrate proceedings.

The other two members of the panel are Justices Aliyu Usman Baba and Ebiyerin Omukoro.

Despite the heavy police detachments within the premises of the court to hear the complaints arising from the July 14, 2018 polls, the activities of the hoodlums forced the panel to contemplate relocating the venue of sitting to an undisclosed location.

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The state police command had deployed an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and several vans at strategic locations to ward off hooligans and troublemakers.

However, those accessing the venue, including journalists and judicial officers, were thoroughly screened.

Though counsel to the parties in the case had tough time entering the premises, as the hoodlums almost barred them.

Some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, who came to witness the proceedings, alleged that persons, suspected to be thugs, attacked them.

According to the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Samuel Omotosho, the incident almost resulted in the death of a member, he simply identified as Akinleye.

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Reacting, the new state APC chairman, Omotosho Paul Ayodele, dismissed the allegation as unfounded and unfortunate.

Owing to the unsavoury happenings, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), filed a relocation application citing insecurity and threat to lives.

The lawyer to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Charles Edosomwam, however, did not object the prayer.

Subsequently, the panel, after rising for about an hour, later reconvened to sanction the application.

Justice Belgore held: “Following the issue of insecurity raised by the lawyers that there was threat to human lives around the court, we are critically mindful of the consequences of the applications made by the counsel to the petitioner, which was not opposed by the counsel to the respondents.”


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