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Outrage over tribunal’s description of NNPP supporters as bandits

The description of members of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) as “red cap wearers”, “violent and terrorist cults”, “bandits” and “bitter losers” by a member of the Kano State governorship election petition tribunal has continued to generate controversy.

Recall that the tribunal on Wednesday sacked Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the NNPP as Kano state governor in a unanimous judgment read by the chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay.

But while the tribunal had resolved all the grounds of the petition in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the petitioner and declared its candidate, Nasir Yusuf Gawuna as the winner of the March 28 gubernatorial polls, the consenting judgment of Justice Benson Anya, member II of the panel has gathered more attention, especially on the social media where excerpts of the judgment have been trending.

Justice Anya had said that Governor Yusuf presided over a state where anarchy was being supported and agents of the government were allowed to malign the judiciary.

“The judges of this Tribunal were harassed, intimidated and made to run under cover. What is the offence of the Judiciary?” Justice Anya queried.

Recall that days before the verdict of the tribunal, Governor Yusuf had sacked one of his cabinet member for the death threats he (commissioner) had issued against the tribunal judges should the judgement not favour the NNPP, a development that was said to be a reason why the judgement was delivered virtually.

In a copy of the judgment sighted by Daily Trust on Saturday, the judge said, “They (Gov Yusuf and his party took the position as was widely reported in the media both print and social that if they loose the case, they will kill the Judges and put the residence of Kano State on fire. They threatened to bring unrest and banditry to Kano State.

“My message to the bandits in politics who want to take power by force is that the Judiciary cannot be intimidated.

“A party who looses a case or anticipates the loss of his case can only prepare to appeal against the decision of the lower Court or prepare to appeal. This is what is obtainable in a civilised society. Kano State as we all know is a cradle of civilisation. No party on the account of loosing a case or on the basis of speculation of the possible loss of a case threaten to go a rampage against the Court and Honourable Judges.

“I use this opportunity to condemn 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. We believe that only Allah is the giver of power. Those who believe in Allah must bow to his will and submit to the authority of Governmental power. Resort to anarchy, violence and killing can never be a source of lawful power. Threatening to put Honourable Judges in the danger of their life as done in Kano by some disguruntled bandits parading as politicians is hereby condemned,” the judge said.

The judge who went on to refer to them as “bitter losers”, called on the security agencies to ensure the threat issued against the tribunal “must not be swept under the carpet.”

“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, we do not want anarchy and terrorism as being promoted in Kano State and as threatened by them.”

Sharing his thoughts on the choice of words, Senator Shehu Sani on his official X account wrote “In the tribunal judgement that was crafted to remove Osun Governor Adeleke, Buga dance was mentioned. In the tribunal judgment that was crafted to remove Kano’s Governor Abba Yusuf, this is the pattern”, highlighting “gang of red caps wearers who like a violent and terrorist cult”, “disguruntled bandits parading as politicians is hereby condemned”, “…threatened fire and brimstones by bitter losers”, as written in the judgment.

Under his tweet, while some users expressed their displeasure with the choice of words, others said the NNPP brought it upon themselves with the threats issued against the tribunal judges

Similarly, another user of the microblogging site, Muhsin Ibrahim wrote “Some things don’t add up here. Of course, a few gov’t officials threatened the judges, but why this? Moreover, Gov. Abba sacked them immediately, a punishment some people consider too harsh. Still, NNPP doesn’t deserve this response from the Tribunal. It sounds very partisan.”

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, a gubernatorial candidate in the same election wrote “Read what the Kano Tribunal Judges had to say about “gang of red cap wearers” in their ruling! Incredible!”

(Daily Trust)

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