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22 August 2019

Tribunal orders arrest of Kano INEC’s witness’ attackers

 The Kano State Governorship Tribunal, headed by Justice Halima Shamaki, has ordered the arrest of the suspected perpetrators of an attack on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worker Halima Sambo Hassan, who gave evidence in respect of the state governorship election before the court on Tuesday.

The judge described the attack on Hassan as barbaric and she ordered appropriate security agencies to begin investigations into the incident. She also ordered security operatives to apprehend those behind the attacks, investigate and to exercise necessary criminal actions against those suspected to be behind the attacks.

Justice Shamaki warned that the tribunal would not condone any act of court contempt from supporters of  the parties before the court.

She cautioned that the court would not accommodate the slightest threat to its proceedings.

“If the life of a witness is threatened,  we cannot sit down and pretend that all is well,” she warned.

The judge said she has a letter in her file, written by lead counsel in the matter and requesting the tribunal to relocate to Abuja “because Kano is not safe”.

“From now, any slightest sign of insecurity, I will write to Abuja for the sitting of this panel to be relocated from Kano,” Justice Shamaki warned.Counsel representing INEC Adedayo Adedeji informed the court that Halima, who appeared and gave testimony before the tribunal was a victim of harassment and intimidation.

Adedeji alleged that photographs of the witness have gone viral on the internet accompanied by threats to her life and inhuman comments were been made against her.

The counsel said: “My lord the photograph of the witness, when leaving this court was taken; this is contempt. We seek the protection of this court. For a witness to come and give evidence is not a crime. I have all that transpired on my phone. I am ready to tender it in evidence.”

He urged the court to stop party supporters from attending court sessions, if they  fail to desist from their unruly attitude.

“Why should a witness not be able to sleep in his or her house; this has to stop,” Adedeji said.

The People’s Democratic Party, Kano state chapter also condemned the verbal assaults, a threat to life and criminal intimidation against the witness.Counsel representing the PDP flagbearer  during the 2019 governorship elections, Abba Kabiru Yusuf,  Maliki Kuliya Umar, while addressing the court on the incident,  condemned the attacks on the witness.

He noted that such nefarious acts against the court would not be tolerated. He called on party supporters to respect the sanctity of the court of law.

Maliki averred that lawyers in the suit would converge to work and ensure that similar incident did not occur.

Also counsel to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Offiong Offiong (SAN), described the attack on the witness as contemptuous, emphasising that the act is serious and has a serious consequence to the administration of justice.

Offiong appealed to the relevant security organs to conduct discreet investigations to unravel the suspects and drag  the suspected perpetrators before the law.


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