…says selection of court to hear cases portends grave danger to Democracy
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised alarm over what it described as the ceaseless attacks on the judiciary by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
State Publicity Secretary of the Edo State Chapter of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare, who spoke on behalf of the party’s Campaign Council, on Thursday in Benin City, also decried APC’s selection of the particular courts and judges to hear cases involving its members, bordering on the gubernatorial election in the state.
The PDP Campaign Council said: “We members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have called this press conference to bring to the attention of the public the ceaseless attacks on the Judiciary, the last hope of the common man.
“On Monday, August 24, 2020, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John T. Tsoho, granted the application filed by the APC for the transfer of five cases bordering on the September 19 gubernatorial election in Edo State, which have been running in the Benin Division of the Federal High Court.
“The transfer of the cases followed a request by the APC, in which the party alleged that Justices in the entire Benin Division of the Federal High Court have shown bias against the party (APC), and the party said it would not get justice from these respected Judges.”
Nehikhare noted: “With this singular action of the APC, the party has denigrated the entire judiciary, attacked its integrity and independence to do its job, scandalised and vilified the respected Judges in these courts.
“The APC also made wild and unsubstantiated allegations of bias against Justice M. G. Umar of the Federal High Court Benin and Justice Taiwo Taiwo in Abuja, and assaulted their character.”
He explained that “After a careful appraisal of this development, we have come to the conclusion that the APC is on a forum shopping mission; to pick and choose which court will hear their cases, a dangerous practice where litigants select the particular courts that they want their cases heard, and which they believe will give them favorable judgments.”
The PDP queried: “Is the APC telling Nigerians that the party has some courts that will give them favourable judgments, and another set of courts that shows bias against them?”
“This portends grave danger to our fledgling democracy and society, and an attempt by the APC to arm-twist the judiciary and force judges to bow to their tune.
“The APC also alleged insecurity in Edo State even when the facts on ground show clearly that the state is secure.
“In fact, the few pockets of unrest we have witnessed in the state were orchestrated by APC leaders and their proxies, and we can deduce that APC leaders may have instigated the unrest to serve as alibi for the transfer application of their cases, which the party has now secured,” he declared.