A Civil Society Organisation, Stand Up Nigeria has expressed concern over threats attributed to a former Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning in Kano state, Honourable Adamu Kibiya, who on the eve of the judgement delivered by the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal threatened to deal with the Justices.
Our correspondent checks revealed that Honourable Kibiya who was later sacked by the Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, had cautioned the judges to choose between their lives and their work while delivering the judgement.
“People voted for us and some people are attempting to do injustice. We want to tell the judges that we will not accept this. Any judge that is willing to deprive us of our rights will regret it. Whatever will happen, we won’t care…,” he had said during a protest organised by members of the ruling New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in the State.
Further checks revealed that certain chieftains of the NNPP in the North West state have equally cast aspersion on the integrity of the three-man justices led by Oluyemi Asadebay which delivered the judgment asking the Independent National Electoral Commission to retrieve the Certificate of Return given to Governor Abba Yusuf and accord recognition to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Nasir Gawuna.
Addressing journalists in Abuja at the weekend, National Coordinator of Stand Up Nigeria, Patriot Sunday Attah said democracy was under threat when judges conduct their statutory duties under the climate of fear and intimidation.
The CSO tasked the NNPP to proceed to the Court of Appeal to prove the merit in their case or prepare ahead of 2027 when a fresh governorship election would be conducted in the State.
Attah further commended the judiciary for delivering what it called “a bold and sound judgement, sacked Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf and declared Dr. Nasir Gawuna as the dully elected Governor of Kano”.
He warned politicians to discourage their supporters from rigging and violence during elections as democracy is the government of the people by the people for the people.
He said:” In view of the aforementioned, we condemn the leadership of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP who have been threatening the judges and general peace of Kano State using its supporters, to understand that, trying to intimidate the judiciary in order to force the Judges to their side would amount to miscarriage of justice as the Law is blind with a sharp sword.
“You don’t have to intimidate the judiciary or cause war because you lose an election. The tenure is four years after which fresh elections would be conducted. You may prepare yourself to contest again instead of sponsoring people to blackmail highly respected Justices of the election petition tribunal and intimidate the Appeal Court Judges all in a bid to reverse a sound judgement already delivered.
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“We understand that Kano has an International market which makes it a home to all Nigerians irrespective of religion and tribe. Kano indigenes are also scattered in other States of the Federation without fear of molestation. No one has monopoly of violence.
“The Judges must be encouraged and supported by all Nigerians as they deliver more critical judgements that would strengthen our democracy. The NNPP and its government must come out openly to retract the violent threat being issued by its supporters including a Commissioner under Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf.
Here is a man ordinarily referred to as Honourable Commissioner, so, where is the Honourable? It shows how deep the NNPP must have gone in terms of intimidation of judicial officers in secret before it was made public.
“We believe that the intimidation and threat being mounted are targeted towards the Appeal Court judges in order to bully them. We urged our Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court to scumble to their antic but always stand on the part of justice. We have offered to stand by the judiciary and help protect the institution once it continues to maintain the part of justice.
“We thank the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for providing enabling environment for the judiciary to operate without interference.”