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Group rejects sitting of Rivers election tribunal in Abuja

A non-governmental organisation, Society for Good Governance, has called for the relocation of the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal from Abuja, where it is currently sitting, to Port Harcourt.

The group’s coordinator, Mr. Tamuno Greg, said that there was no basis for the tribunal to sit in Abuja.

Rivers State is among the four states whose governorship and legislative houses elections petitions tribunals are to sit in Abuja.

The other states whose election tribunals are to sit in the Federal Capital Territory are Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

It was learnt that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, decided that the tribunal for those states are to sit in the FCT for security reasons.

But Greg faulted the directive by Bulkachuwa, arguing that Port Harcourt was peaceful and that there was no threat whatsoever to the lives of the tribunal members.

He said, “If the city is not peaceful as they would want us to believe, why has the President of the Court of Appeal not relocated the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt to Abuja?

“Our argument is that if the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court can continue to sit in Port Harcourt, what is the justification for bringing the tribunal to Abuja?

“Look, all the witnesses are in Rivers State. The plaintiffs’ witnesses as well as the defendants’ witnesses are in Rivers. The Independent National Electoral Commission staff who conducted the elections are in Rivers, So why putting everybody under inconveniences?

“We therefore call on the President of the Court of Appeal to rescind her decision by relocating the tribunal back to Port Harcourt.”

He argued that law, equity, justice and fair play demanded that the tribunal should sit in Port Harcourt.

He maintained that it would be in the interest of all the parties to have the tribunal relocated to Port Harcourt.

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