CLO asks NJC to probe Enugu elections petition tribunal
THE Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has raised an alarm over some activities at the Enugu State Elections Petition Tribunal, calling on the National Judicial Council (NJC) and Chief Justice of Nigeria to critically look into the activities and rulings of the tribunal.
In a statement issued and signed by the State Chairman of the body in Enugu State, Mr. Zulu Ofoelue, the CLO, which said it had closely monitored trend of activities of the 2015 elections petition tribunal in Enugu State, expressed concern over some decisions so far reached by it.
Ofoelue described as worrisome the way most petitions have allegedly been dismissed without proper hearing, saying it had forced petitioners to go on appeal.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Michael Edem, has recently lamented the attitude of some lawyers appearing before the tribunal, threatening that he would not fail to “throw away any petition discovered to have been set to waste the time of the court.”
He had called on the lawyers to exhibit professionalism in their conduct, accusing them of employing technicalities to buy time knowing that there was time-frame for the tribunal.
But the CLO argued in its statement that the tribunal had refused to comply with provisions of the law guiding its establishment, accusing it of thriving in dismissal of petitions, denying itself of jurisdiction and unnecessary adjournments.
It stated: “The tribunal’s stand of lacking jurisdiction over some petitions leaves much to be desired as we have learnt that some pre-election matters-based petitions like those on party primaries have been striking off cases based on this ground.
“It must be noted that pre-election issues have been ruled by the Supreme Court to be within the jurisdiction of the elections petition tribunals, unfortunately the tribunal in Enugu has ignored this.
“It is confounding that the tribunal with a 120-day jurisdiction
adjourns matters brought before it for periods ranging from one to two weeks. This could bring about delays in hearing and probably kill many petitions.”
The CLO called on the tribunal to complete all hearings and give rulings so that all matters could go for appeal at the same
period to save time.
It also advised the tribunal to respect the rule of law and give fair hearing to all petitions brought before it.
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