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Respondent alleges threat to life at Abia election tribunal

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A respondent, Mr Emeka Okoroafor on Wednesday told the National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abia that his life is currently being threatened by unknown persons.

Okoroafor, a second respondent, alleged that he is being threatened in connection with the petition filed against him by Mr John Ogele, candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Ogele had approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Okoroafor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9, 2019 House of Assembly election for Isuikwato state constituency.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that Ogele who came fourth in the election, is asking the tribunal to return him as winner.

The petitioner, a two-term member of Abia assembly, alleged alteration and swapping of the election results.

During Wednesday’s proceedings however, the respondent raised alarm before the Justice Cornelius Akintayo-led three-member tribunal, immediately after he was being cross-examined as a star witness.

Okoroafor, the Chairman of Justice and Judiciary and Public Petition committees, claimed that some unknown persons had been trailing him in the past couple of days.

“My lord, I have been finding it difficult to go to my constituency, you see somebody trailing you, you park, he parks, you move, he moves.

“It has made it difficult for me to sleep over in Isuikwato since the commencement of this trial,” he said.

Okoroafor alleged that he witnessed a similar incident prior to the election where he was nearly kidnapped, but miraculously escaped.

He told the court that he was handicapped as he could not engage security agents because of the pending trial.

But Mr C.C Elele, counsel to the petitioner, debunked the allegation arguing that Okoroafor was only trying to whip up sentiment in the ongoing trial.

He said that the respondent, who is also a learned colleague, was being callous and unfair, stressing that he was at liberty to contact security agents if there was such a threat.

In his response, Ogele said it was a grievous allegation against him and urged the tribunal to discountenance it.

“I only accosted the respondent on Monday for bringing people who are not presiding officers to appear in court as witnesses,” Ogele said.

Akintayo, however, advised the respondent to contact the police for any complaint, adding that anything concerning threat to life or assault was outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, he gave the petitioners five days to file their written arguments and three days for respondents to reply on point of law.

The matter was adjourned to Sept. 4, for adoption of final written addresses.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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