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However, a source at the tribunal said that the move was necessitated by “security reasons.
Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, the President of the Court of Appeal, has relocated the Kogi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal from Lokoja to Abuja.
A statement by David Umar Mike, Secretary of the Tribunal, obtained by NAN said it would now sit at the National Judicial Institute on Umar Yar’Adua Way in Abuja.
It urged litigants to take note of the change of venue.
The statement did not disclose the reason behind the relocation.
However, a source at the tribunal told NAN that the move was necessitated by “security reasons.”
The source noted that members of staff of the tribunal had been attacked on several occasions in Lokoja.
“Just last Monday, tribunal officials were attacked on the way to the office.
“Armed men just pounced on the officials. They robbed them of everything. They took away all the documents that were in the car.
“Copies of petitions and personal belongings, official receipts, processes like subpoena, official stamps, were all stolen.
Generally, thugs are frustrating the job and the lives of our officials are at stake, making it difficult to work there,” the source said,” the source said.
In a related incident, the Nigeria Police Force on Wednesday said the unknown gunmen who attacked the Secretary to the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, David Mike carted away four petitions before the special court to seek nullification of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Ahmed Usman Ododo’s victory in November poll.
This was contained in a statement issued by the state police spokesperson, William Aya, in which he said that Mr Mike told the police that he was attacked on Monday by some armed men while heading to his office at the High Court Complex in Lokoja, the state capital.
The tribunal secretary said he was with two other officials when the incident occurred.
The police said, “All of them (gunmen) surrounded and blocked him (Mike) as he attempted to reverse.”
According to the police statement, Mr Mike said he “saw about seven hooded men, all heavily armed and dressed in black attire who shot severally into the air and dragged him and his two other colleagues out of their car, ransacked the car and made away with all the documents including Petitions filed by four (4) Parties namely Action Alliance (AA), Action People’s Party (APP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP)/two (2) Record Books/a Bag containing his personal items”.
According to the statement, the state police commissioner had ordered an investigation into the incident to unravel what happened.
Following last Friday’s attack by gunmen on the residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, in the state, Gabriel Longpet, Otumba Olumofin Okutepa (SAN), counsel for the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Murtala Yakubu Ajaka raised the alarm over alleged attacks on members of the Kogi State Education Petition Tribunal.
According to him, the attacks were allegedly carried out to stop the hearing and ruling on a petition filed by Ajaka against the outcome of the election.
Okutepa, who raised the alarm in a statement he signed and made available to journalists said that the Secretary of the Election Petition Tribunal was attacked at gunpoint by hired political thugs in Lokoja on Monday.
The lawyer said, “At the time the attacks occurred, the Secretary was with copies of an election petition filed on the 2/12/2023 by the legal team of Alhaji Murtala Yakubu and Social Democratic Party, SDP.”
Okutepa further said, “The said petition was filed on 2/12/2023. The petition is No: EPT/KG/Gov/03/2023. The said petition was duly received and stamped on the 2/12/2023 and certified by Mr U. D. Mike On the said date.”
He stressed that “by the provisions of Section 285(5) of the 1999, election petitions are to be filed within 21 days after the date of the declaration of the result of the election”.
“The result of the Kogi State Governorship Election was declared on 12/11/2023. This petition was filed within time allowed by the constitution. The petition submitted was in three volumes. They are numbered volumes 1, 2 and 3,” he said.(www.naija247news.com)