A coalition of civil society/human rights groups made up of indigenes of Ekiti State has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission, accusing the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, Justice Isaac Ogunyemi and Justice John Adeyeye of among other things violating the rights of “law abiding Ekiti State citizens who were at the court premises on September 21, 20014 to witness the Election Petitions Tribunal proceedings.”
The group, in the petition signed by its Secretary, Comrade Aderemi Olaleye, and addressed to the NHRC Executive Secretary, Prof. Ben Angwe, said Justice Adeyeye breached Sections 34, 40, and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by lambasting law-abiding citizens of Ekiti State, calling them thugs and that the Chief Judge breached the citizens constitutional rights to fair hearing by indicting them without first hearing their own side of the story.
The petitioner said it had expected the Chief Judge to institute an inquiry or a probe to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the September 22 and 24 incidents with a view to curtaining the possibility of any future reoccurrence.
The petition said: “However, Justice Daramola chose to further amplify the positions of Justice Adeyeye, by writing petition against the Governor-Elect, Mr Ayodele Fayose and innocent Ekiti people, insinuating that they were thugs and that they were led by the Ekiti Governor-Elect to disrupt court activities and attack judges.
“It is important to state that the Chief Judge did not hear from either the governor elect or other persons he indicted in his person, thus breaching their constitutional rights to fair hearing, and also lending credence to the popular view held in the state that he (Chief Judge) hates the governor-elect with a passion and will do anything to destroy him.”
The group blamed Justice Adeyeye for deliberately provoking law-abiding citizens of the state who were at the court to witness the governorship elections Petitions tribunal proceedings, by calling them political thugs.
The group said: “As at the time the people were gathered at the Ado-Ekiti High Court premises, waiting for the tribunal to commence sitting, there was no violence and no one was molested. The people were law-abiding.
“Suddenly, Justice Adeyeye, who was sitting in his own Court rose, entered into his chamber, changed from his court wears into other another wears. He then came out of the court building to the premises, walking over 50 metres from where he was sitting.
“Justice Adeyeye left his own court room, and entered into the crowd and started lambasting them, thus descending into the arena of political activities and acting as a politician.
“As at the time Justice Adeyeye was lambasting law abiding citizens of Ekiti State, who were at the Ekiti State High Court premises and calling them thugs, he (Adeyeye) was not carrying with him any identification as a judge, having removed his court wears and putting on ordinary dress.
“In our considered view, for a judge, whose court was not involved in the Election Petitions case, to have left his own court room, and descended into the political arena to address law-abiding citizens of Ekiti state as thugs is to say the least derogatory and an unwarranted infringement on the rights of these law abiding people as provided in Sections 34,40, and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Most importantly, it is not the duty of Justice Adeyeye to control crowd at the court premises. He is not a security personnel. Most importantly, security personnel were attached to Justice Adeyeye, but for his ulterior motives, he refused to inform them of the need to control the crowd at the Court premises.
“It is important to note that despite not being provoked, despite that non of the law abiding Nigerians was in his Court or chamber, Justice Adeyeye, derogatively referred to them as political thugs, thereby bringing their personalities into disrepute in the eyes of other Nigerians.”
The group said that opinion was already being held across the state as to whether or not the Chief Judge will make himself available to perform his constitutional duty of swearing-in the governor-elect on October 16, 2014, for him to assume office as governor of Ekiti State.
“We sincerely hope that Justice Daramola will not take any further rash actions that could throw the State into constitutional anarchy,” the group said.