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Rivers Tribunal: Wike Loses Appeal on Jurisdiction  

River state governor Nyesome Wike

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Supreme  Court  on Tuesday  ruled  that  the  Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has territorial  jurisdiction  to sit in Abuja following  perceived  security  challenges  in the state.

The Rivers  State  Governorship  Election  Petition  Tribunal  sitting in Abuja  had dismissed   a preliminary  objection raised by Governor  Wike  on the territorial  jurisdiction  of the  tribunal  and the failure  of  the  President of the Court  of  Appeal  to consult  the  Rivers State Chief Judge  and President of  the  Customary Court of Appeal before  constituting the  tribunals.

In a lead judgment  read by Justice  Sanusi, the Supreme  Court  held that the  President of the Court  of  Appeal  had the powers to transfer  the  sitting  of the tribunal  to  Abuja  to safeguard  the  lives of  the  judges  and their staff.

The Supreme  Court  also ruled that  in view of  the  fact that Rivers State  had no Chief Judge  or Customary  Court  of  Appeal,  there was no possibility  for the President  to have consulted them before the  constitution  of  the  tribunals.

The court unanimously  held that based on the doctrine  of  necessity,  the President  Court of Appeal  acted in the  right direction.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has  lauded the Nigerian Supreme Court on its decision to throw out the Wike’s appeal on Jurisdiction.

“As a party, the APC is grateful that all seven eminent jurists of the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that there was sufficient violence before; during and after the elections to justify the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja and that the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja was to safeguard the lives of the tribunal chairman, members and witnesses.

“The apex court likened the violence in Rivers to that of a theatre of war such as is prevailing in the North-East”, the party said in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone in Port Harcourt on monday.

The APC noted with delight that Justice Okoro from Akwa Ibom state not only concurred but went further to say that Rivers State was a theatre of war and as such protection of life and limbs of members of the panel and interested parties was paramount and thus relocation of the panel imperative.

The APC also commended the eminent Supreme Court Justices for once again re-affirming that they always dispense justice without fear or favour despite the frequent boasts by Nyesom Wike that he has all the Justices of the Supreme Court in his pocket, whatever that means.

The significance of all seven eminent Justices of the Supreme Court speaking in one voice in today’s judgment according to the APC, is that the faith, hope and confidence of the ordinary Nigerian to get justice is assured in the Nigerian judicial system.


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