Posted by Timige, On 9 Nov, 2023 | Updated On 9 Nov, 2023 No Comments »
Hundreds of Plateau youths, including women, on Wednesday, protested in different locations in Jos, the state capital, over what they described as a “conflicting tribunal and Court of Appeal judgments” targeted at sacking state and National Assembly members elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
Amid the widespread protests, some hoodlums made an attempt to set the Court Appeal complex in Jos on fire. The plan was, however, thwarted by the police and other security agents deployed to the complex.
It was learnt that some of the protesters were beaten by soldiers who arrived at the scene afterwards while many others sustained injuries
A statement issued late Wednesday night by the Plateau State Police Command warned against any breach of the peace in the state, describing the protests as illegal
The spokesman for the police command, Alabo Alfred, who signed the statement, said, “In order to maintain peace, law and order in the state, the CP has warned individuals, or groups of persons protesting under any guise, whose reaction could truncate the peace currently being enjoyed in the state to desist from such actions or else, the police command will not hesitate to take decisive action against the perpetrators in accordance with the extant laws.
“The CP, therefore, warns parents, traditional/religious leaders, to warn their wards and subjects, to steer clear from such unlawful protests to avoid being apprehended by the law enforcement agencies.”
The PUNCH reports that no fewer than four National Assembly members elected on the platform of the PDP, including the Senate Minority Leader, Simon Mwadkwon, had been sacked by the Appeal Court on the grounds that the PDP had no valid structure in the state.
Apart from Mwadkwon, who represents Plateau North, others sacked were Senator Napoleon Bali representing Plateau South; Musa Agah, representing Jos North/Bassa Federal constituency; Dachung Bagos, representing Jos South /Jos East Federal Constituency; and Beni Lar, representing Langtang North /Langtang South Federal Constituency.
The protesters blocked the Jos-Abuja Highway on Wednesday, thereby causing heavy traffic and leaving travellers stranded.
Many of the protesters also gathered at the popular Mararaba Jamaa Roundabout singing anti-judiciary songs and burning tyres on the road.
They accused the All Progressives Congress of using the Court of Appeal to force unpopular candidates, who were rejected at the poll, on the people.
They also insisted that the state PDP had a solid structure to nominate candidates for elections.
Some of the protesters held placards with different inscriptions such as, ‘The ballot is supreme’, ‘Do not kill our democracy’, ‘PDP is alive,’ ‘Return people’s mandate’, and ‘We want justice’; amongst many others.
As of the time of filling this report, security operatives were seen trying to disperse another set of protesters who gathered at the Old Airport Road denouncing the court verdicts and calling on the National Judicial Council to intervene in all the cases before the Court of Appeal involving the PDP and its candidates from Plateau.
One of the aggrieved youths, Ibrahim Itse, read an open protest letter addressed to the Chairman of the National Judicial Council.
The letter was titled, “An Urgent Need to Salvage the Judiciary from Plunging into the Arena of Politics; Total Disregard for Judicial Precedents and Stare Decisis.”
It read: “As we write this morning, all members of the National Assembly elected by the good people of Plateau State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have had their elections nullified in clear breach of constitutional and statutory provisions as well as failure to follow judicial precedents.
“It becomes more worrying when the basis for the nullification of the return of all the PDP National Assembly members is consequent upon an order of the Plateau State High court that was given in 2020 in a legal tussle from the congress to elect its state executives for the party. While it is on record that the party complied with the order to do a repeat congress as evidenced by the report of INEC, which monitored the repeat congress, the panel of the Court of Appeal declined to accept the report as conclusive fact that the court order was complied with.
“This court said while raising the issue suo moto that two of the signatories, including the then Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Halilu Pai, did not show that they were present at the venue of the repeat congress. It unexpectedly became a matter of the quality of the repeat congress rather than their earlier allegations and pleadings of petitioners that the order of the court was not complied with.”
The protesters, who called for the disbandment of the Plateau State Elections Appeal panel, also urged the NJC to take more than a passing interest in outstanding matters going on at the Court of Appeal as it pertains to Plateau State.
They also called for a constitution of a new panel to hear the remaining appeals, saying the current panel had shown manifest bias to unduly favour the APC candidates.
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