A pro-democracy coalition has called for the immediate prosecution of the writer and sponsor of a petition written against the Justice Jummai Sankey-led Appeal Panel of the Court of Appeal on the Ondo State governorship election.
The Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution made the call in a statement issued by its Co-Convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, on Sunday in Abuja.
The Justice Sankey-led appeal panel was set up to determine the appeal against the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court on the Peoples Democratic Party Ondo State governorship election candidate.
It would be recalled that Biyi Poroye, a factional PDP Chairman in the state, had written a petition against the special appeal panel with various allegations of compromise and likelihood of bias.
Poroye specifically alleged that the panel was constituted to urgently hear and determine the cases because the President of the Court of Appeal had been compromised.
Atoye alleged Jimoh Ibrahim, the PDP’s cleared candidate for the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, to be the sponsor of the petition.
He said that it was only the immediate prosecution of the petitioner and the sponsor by the Nigerian Bar Association that could redeem the image of the battered justices.
“The petitioner and his sponsor deliberately embarked on an evil voyage into the forest of lies and concocted falsehoods in a most painful manner to smear these eminent Justices,” Atoye said.
He said that the group had written a letter to NBA to express its deep pains on actions of the duo, which, according to Atoye, went personal on the members of the panel.
He said: “They subjected their reputations, health and judicial records to public ridicule and brought untold discomforts to the Justices by circulating the petition in the social media space.
“Biyi Poroye and his sponsor did not stop at this unwarranted campaign of calumny against the justices.
“They further questioned the authorities of the Court to constitute a special panel to urgently look into the Ondo State PDP governorship Candidate tussles.”
Atoye therefore urged the judiciary and the NBA to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure that all those found culpable were punished immediately.
He said such action was important to preserve the integrity of the country’s judicial system.
Atoye, who urged members of the judiciary to be strong at this trying period, added that “the onus is now on the judiciary to act on this matter with dispatch”.
He added: “Nigerians are eager to see the outcome of your investigation and the immediate prosecution of Biyi Poroye and Jimoh Ibrahim to stop further unwarranted attacks against the bench.”
The pro-democracy group equally expressed its support to the judiciary.
The statement said: “We will never allow the axis of evil to prevail in our land; it is our collective responsibility as Nigerians never to allow the Judiciary to fall.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that the judiciary has its own challenges.
“However, we will continue to insist that everything must be done within the framework of rule of law and our constitution.
“We urge the judiciary to be strong in the face of intimidation and conspiracy to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
“You must continue to dispense justice without fear or favour.”