There was security breach yesterday outside the venue of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin as a supporter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was stabbed with a broken bottle, allegedly by a political thug from the All Progressives Congress, APC. The victim, Amadin Osamudiamen is from Ward 11, Oredo local government area of Edo State and was in court to witness the tribunal’s proceedings. The PDP and Osagie Ize-Iyamu, its candidate in the September 28, 2016 state governorship election are challenging the declaration of the APC candidate, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki as the winner of the controversial election.
In the last few weeks, counsel to both the petitioners and respondents had raised security concerns arising from unruly conducts of political thugs who daily besiege the court environs, constituting nuisance especially at the end of proceedings.
Ken Mozia, senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN, counsel to Obaseki, had sometime ago intimated the court how he was almost mobbed by political thugs who identified him as the governor’s counsel as he made his way out of the court premises. His SUV was damaged in the process. Yusuff Alli, lead counsel to the petitioners, also complained of the same thing, stating that the experience was both ways.
Consequent upon this, the tribunal chairman, Ahmed Badamasi called on the state commissioner of police to beef up security around the tribunal and also appealed to politicians to call their supporters to order.
That intervention however seemed to have amounted to nothing given yesterday’s development. Counsel to the petitioners, Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, who called the attention of the tribunal to the violence unleashed on one of his client’s supporters yesterday afternoon, pleaded for reinforcement of security around the court. Osamudiamen who was stabbed on the head, is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
Orbih wondered why the matter before the tribunal should be a do-or-die affair and would want supporters of both the PDP and APC to borrow the example given from the bar by counsel who joke, go round to greet each other and even greet parties to the petition, including opponents.
An apparently saddened Badamasi reiterated his call on the state police commissioner to beef up security at the tribunal. A security conference comprising members of the tribunal, counsel from both sides, and security agents, was later held on the matter which was reflected in the sanity that prevailed at the end of today’s proceedings.
Mozia, Orbih and Adetunji Oyeyipo, second respondent’s lead counsel, thanked the tribunal for its immediate action. Mozia confirmed that yesterday evening was without any ugly incident as he drove behind Dan Osi Orbih, the state chairman of the PDP on their way out of the court premises.
The magazine however observed that as a result of the tribunal’s intervention, men of the Nigeria Police Force has restored their presence around the vicinity of the court which had earlier been withdrawn. The state PDP chairman was satisfied that the matter had been effectively dealt with by the commissioner of police and the director of state security, DSS as was evident this morning.