Suspected thugs invade Kogi tribunal

Suspected thugs on Wednesday invaded the premises of Kogi West Senatorial District Election Petitions Tribunal.

The tribunal, which adjourned indefinitely, is looking into the petition against the election of Sen. Smart Adeyemi by the defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Dino Melaye.

Members of the tribunal are Justice Issa Sambo, Justice Ogadinma Agada and Khadi Usman Adamu.

It was learnt that the hoodlums took advantage of when the tribunal was on break to unleash mayhem on some party leaders and supporters.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP trade blames last night.

Among the victims were the Chairman of the APC in Kogi State, Abdullahi Bello, some APC members from Kogi West and a PDP stalwart who was beaten to a pulp.

A source in APC said: “The proceedings at the tribunal actually did not favour the PDP candidate. Some witnesses contradicted themselves to the bewilderment of the petitioner.

“We were savouring the advantage we had within the court premises when some thugs took advantage of the break session to attack APC members, including the Chairman of APC in Kogi State, Abdullahi Bello.

A PDP source said: “Actually, the tribunal went into break session and the PDP candidate, Sen. Dino Melaye, came to meet with some of his witnesses and supporters. While he was addressing them, pandemonium just erupted.

“Obviously, Melaye’s supporters could not have been behind the attack.  We have been demanding security beef up because the same Court Complex in Zone 2, Abuja is housing the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.”

But a statement by Adeyemi’s camp said: “There was mild drama on Wednesday at the Kogi State National Assembly Election Tribunal, sitting in Abuja as some of the petitioner’s witnesses denied their statement on oath.

“The petitioner, Dino Melaye, had called in some of his witnesses to buttress his suit at the tribunal challenging the outcome of the November 30 rerun won by Senator Smart Adeyemi; alleging that there was mayhem and manipulation at the polls.

“As hearing into the suit continues for adoption of written addresses, one of the witnesses who said his name was Magi Abraham Shade dealt a blow to their case when he mentioned he was from Okedayo rather than Kakun that was in his written statement.

“While being cross examined, counsel to the 2nd respondent, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Dapo Otitoju, demanded that the witness should sign his signature; but it was found different from the one appended on his written address.

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“The witness also made another gaffe when he stated that he was the PDP Ward collation agent during the election, though he carried out his voters card registration in Kaduna and later transferred it to Kabba.

“Counsel to the 3rd respondent, (APC),  Abdulahi Esq, also queried the witness who  identified himself from the voters register, but his name was not found.

“However when he was asked if he was also the same person as Tafu Jimoh Anthony in the voters register, he denied the name despite that his picture in the voters register carried the name Tafu Jimoh Anthony.

“Many of the other witnesses have difficulty in differentiating between over voting and mutilation, while some agreed to have written their addresses but not the one who signed it.”

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