The New Nigeria People’s Party on Sunday faulted the comments credited to the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which described supporters of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf as “bandits and terrorists”.
The party particularly raised serious objections to what it described as “indecorous and libelous language” used by the panel, saying it was to tarnish the image of its leaders and members.
The NNPP in a statement by its National Auditor, Ladipo Johnson, said it was particularly miffed by the portions of the publication where a member of the panel, Justice Benson Anya, condemned NNPP members, who, he described “the gang of Red Cap wearers who, like a violent and terrorist cult, chased us out of Kano and put us in the fear of our lives”.
Johnson reiterated that the NNPP would “consider all options including petitioning the National Judicial Council over the utterances of the Judge”, and shall appeal the tribunal’s verdict.
Justice Anya had also said, “Instead of some Kano politicians to be allowed to use banditry and violence to abort democracy in Kano State, justice will be used to stop them from destroying democracy in Kano and upward.”
But Johnson objected to such language, which, he stated, was unbecoming of a judge and defender of the law.
He said, “Of course, the indecorous, libelous and outright condemnable comments credited to the panel and especially those portions where Justice Benson Anya went beyond his judicial bounds of immunity and acted as if he is an interested party in the matter by casting aspersions on the leadership and members of NNPP, are spurious, regrettable, uncouth and based on sentiments.
“To any rational observer, it should be glaringly obvious that Justice Anya’s lengthy rebuke, insult and insensitive remarks against NNPP individually and collectively were rather unprecedented, and not based on the facts, evidence and law before the Tribunal. One would think that he has taken sides as an interested party and as such has prejudiced the judgement of the court.”
According to him, Justice Benson Anya may have been trying to curry the public sympathy by painting the ANPP as “wearers of the red cap terrorists and bandits.”
He said it was “a terrible application of sentiments to validate a historic and epic miscarriage of justice”.
Johnson expressed optimism that justice would be delivered at the Appellate Court in due course to reinforce the faith of the people in the judiciary and democracy.
He said that from the comment credited to the Jjdge, it was “now apparently clear that justice was not served by the Election Petition Panel which had all its sittings in Kano without any report of violence or disruptions, adding that “all of a sudden, decided to give their judgement via Zoom from some obscure places that remains a mystery to us!”