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Benue: APC’s group accuses tribunal of frustrating appeals

A group under All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State on Friday alleged that the Justices of National/State Assemblies Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in the state are frustrating its members from proceeding on appeals.

The group known as Benue APC Like Minds (BALM), noted that its members whose petitions judgment had been delivered by the tribunal were yet to proceed on appeal against the ruling because they do not have access to copies of the judgement.

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Chairman of BALM, Kula Tersoo who signed the statement, indicated that the tribunal led by Justice R O Odugu, Justice M A Onyetenu and Justice Esther Tata as members had withheld the copies of judgment delivered against APC for five days now.

Terso stated that the group was particularly worried over the case of the Kwande/Ushongo federal constituency, between Benjamin Wayo (APC) and Robert A. Tyough (PDP); Katsina-Ala/Ukum/Logo federal constituency between Solomon Wombo (APC) and Richard Gbande (PDP).

He pointed out others to include; Ogbadibo state constituency between John Ali (APC) and Peter  Enemere (PDP), judgements which were all delivered on Monday, September 9, 2019 while those of Makurdi/Guma federal constituency between Terhile Utaan (APC) and Benjamin Mzondu (PDP) and Benue North West senatorial district, between George Akume (APC) and Emmanuel O. Jev (PDP) followed sequentially.

The group also threatened that if the judgements are not released by the end of Friday, September13, 2019, they would be left with no other option than to petition the president of the Court of Appeal and the chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to address such injustice.

“This is contrary to the the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) that copies of judgement(s) be given to parties within 24hrs from the time. The judgements it delivered against the APC for five days (120hrs) as at today (Friday, 13th September, 2019).

“Let it be known that according to the provisions of the constitution, our party has a legal window of only 14 days to prepare, file and serve the notices of appeal to the respondents.

“But with this development, the Justices have already unwittingly delayed us, eating four days out of our 14 days.

“We are at cross road and are tempted to say that this may be a way to frustrate the proper filing of the notices of appeal and pursue of the appeals, owing to the fact that the appeal itself from the time of delivery of judgement by the tribunal; the filing of the notice of appeal; the compilation of the records of appeal; the filing of briefs and the hearing of the appeals and then, the delivery of judgement of the appeal court has to be done within 60 days and no more,” the statement reads.

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