Benue election tribunal chairman seeks lawyers’ cooperation
CHAIRMAN of Benue State Legislative Houses election petition tribunal sitting in the state capital, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu, has warned lawyers and litigants appearing before the tribunal to desist from any act that could distract members from discharging their rightful duties.
Justice Dipeolu sounded the warning yesterday on Wednesday in Makurdi while presiding over the inaugural sitting of the tribunal even as she implored members of the legal profession to uphold the rule of law and the ethics of the profession.
“I urge lawyers to advice their clients against trying to influence members of the panel or staff of the tribunal; and or championing smear campaign or peddling rumors against the tribunal members,” the tribunal chairman said.
She further disclosed that 25 petitions are before the panel to be disposed of within 180 days from the date of filing the petition; with the breakdown of two senatorial, six House of Representatives and seventeen (17) House of Assembly petitions.
The Chairman while reminding the counsels and litigants that the 25 petitions were filed between 18th April, 2015 to 2nd May, 2015, said it is indicative to all of them that the tribunal has a time limit within which to discharge its duties.
“I hereby assured you all of our readiness to work hard and give the cases before us accelerated hearing to avoid any of the petitions elapsing and recognizing that these cases do not depend on the tribunal alone but more on the lawyers,” Justice Dipeolu noted.
She added that in view of the limited time within which to dispose of the cases before them, the panel will be compelled to sit outside the official hours like Saturdays and public holidays and solicited for cooperation from lawyers as delay in any form or manner would not be tolerated.
The tribunal Chairman further announced that by Monday, the panel should have proceeded to pre-hearing sessions or start dismissing cases deemed abandoned by the petitioners, or entering judgment for respondents in accordance with paragraph 8(4) and (3) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
Responding on behalf of the counsels, Sebastian Hon SAN, assured the tribunal of uppermost cooperation from lawyers, saying they are aware of the enormity of the work before the tribunal.
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