CJN Ariwoola petitioned to call Gombe presiding Magistrate to order

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, has been petitioned as a matter of urgency call to order, the presiding Chief Magistrate of Court 11, Tumfure, in Gombe State, Aliyu Abubakar to avert judicial recklessness in the state.

In a petition written by CR Ayuba & Co Solicitors against Aliyu Abubakar of Chief Magistrate Court 11, TUMFURE, Gombe State, they alleged abuse of office, the deliberate abdication of duty and lowering the confidence of the public in the judiciary against the legal officer.

The petition signed by A Rabiu Esq contained that, “We act as solicitors to Ahmed Mandi Abubakar (hereinafter referred to as “The Petitioner cum “Our Clients”) and on whose behalf and specific instructions we write this petition.”

Giving the background of the petition, the Solicitors wrote, “Our client’s instructions supported by facts made available to us disclosed that on the 16th January 2023, our client was arrested and detained at Criminal Investigation Department of the Gombe Police Command on the behest of the Gombe State Governor, Alh Inuwa Yahaya for alleged injurious falsehood against the said Governor.”

It further contained that, “Before his arrest, our Client had hitherto granted a radio interview at a local radio Station in Gombe State, known as Jewel FM, wherein he freely expressed his views about the state of affairs and the award of contracts for the building of the Gombe State Government House Fence, which view the state Governor found offensive and ordered for his arrest.”

According to the Solicitors, “While under detention, our client was denied administrative bail, howbeit, the alleged offence for which he was being investigated upon is ordinarily bailable. Our client was subsequently arraigned on the 20th January 2023 before the Chief Magistrate Court 11, Tumfure Gombe State presided by Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11, Tumfure) on whom this petition is now made.”

The petition further contained that, “The first information report upon which our client was called upon to take his plea read thus: That you Ahmed Mandi Abubakar M’ 48 Years of Jeka da Fari Quarters Gombe State on 11/1/2023 at about 1730hrs you called on Yakubu Habili M’ of Jekadafari Quarters a staff of jewel FM Radio station Gombe where you made a false statement against the Governor and Gombe State Government through Jewel FM Radio Station Gombe. You thereby committed an offence contrary to section 393 of the Penal Code Law and punishable under same Law.”

“Our client pleaded not guilty to the charge and a bail application was made on his behalf but the said application was opposed on the ground that the case has a political inclination and thus bail should be refused,” it added.

According to the Solicitors, “Notwithstanding that the offence charged is ordinarily bailable as provided by Section 182 of the Gombe State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2020, yet the court adjourned ruling on the Bail Application to the 27/1/2023.”

“On the 27/1/23, when the matter was to come up for ruling, the presiding magistrate and all members of staff of the registry of the court were absent and the Defendant, our client, was not even produced from the Gombe Medium Security Correctional Centre where he was remanded since on the 20/1/23 which is a clear indication of deliberate injustice to ensure his continual remand at the correctional Centre,” the Solicitors claimed.

The Solicitors added that” the Defendant Counsel and his team together with his relations and friends who came to the Court that day including members of the press, waited from 9 am to 5 pm but in vain as neither the Hon Magistrate nor any staff of the Court registry was available to render any explanation.”

“My lord, this action of the presiding Magistrate and staff of the court Registry in absenting the Court and the non-production of the Defendant on a day when the case is to come up for ruling on Bail Application points to only one conclusion, a deliberate connivance to ensure continual incarceration of our client to please the Nominal Complainant, Governor Inuwa Yahaya since it has already been stated by the Prosecuting Counsel while making arguments opposing the Bail Application that the bail is refused as the case has the political inclination,” the Solicitors alleged.

The Solicitors further stated in the petition, “More so my Lord, Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11, Tumfure) is now notorious and known as the judge who handles cases bordering on free speech in which citizens who exercise their rights to freedom of expression are subsequently being arraigned and detained for months and even when their application is later granted, the conditions for bail are usually so stringent such that it is practically impossible to be met.”

The legal practitioners added that  “It is also not surprising that our client herein may suffer the same faith unless Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11, Tumfure) is called to Order.”

“My Lord, it is obvious from the act and actions of Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11 Tumfure), the judiciary being seen as the last hope of a common man is more or less being seen as the thorns barricading the peace and freedom of a common man,” the petition further contained.

According to the petition, “The schemas and arbitrary use of judicial power by Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11 Tumfure) to frustrate and cause serious trepidation to our client are unexplainable and unjustifiable.”

“It is therefore upon the above premise that in utmost genuflection, we humbly seek your immediate intervention and investigation into the issues raised herein, and investigate the activities of Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11 Tumfure) in order not to allow him to throw or continue to drag the judicial arm of Government into the mud,” the Solicitors demand.

The petitioners stressed that,” the said Aliyu Abubakar (Chief Magistrate Court 11 Tumfure) should be called to order.

We are eternally grateful in anticipation of my Lord’s swift and favourable consideration while we shall continue to pray that God Almighty will continue to grant my lord the heavenly wisdom to carry out your functions.”

The petition was copied to the Chief Judge of Gombe State, Chairman, Judicial Service Commission

Gombe State; The Inspector  General of Police, Nigerian Police Force Headquarters; The Director-General

Department of State Services and The Chairman Economic & Financial Crimes Commission as well as the National Human Rights Office.

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