The Supreme Court has berated the All Progressives Congress for accusing three justices of having a secret meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party over Imo North Senatorial District by-election held December last year.
There have been controversies surrounding the election outcome after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared APC the winner of the election without announcing any authentic candidate based on conflicting court orders on the party’s candidacy.
Both members of the party, Ifeanyi Ararume, and Francis Ibezim, were in a legal battle over the senatorial seat, but Justice Taiwo Taiwo, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on March 18, ordered that the former be issued the certificate of return.
The apex court, on Tuesday, suspended indefinitely a hearing in the appeal by Mr Ibezim, who challenged his disqualification after the party, wrote a petition against its justices.
The APC, in a petition against Muhammed Musa Datijo, Helen Ogunwumiju, and Abdu Aboki, alleged that the judges had a meeting with PDP members on strategies to disrupt the outcome of the case.
Mr Datijo, who led a five-member panel of justices of the court, informed counsel in the matter that the hearing would not go on as scheduled after the interim chairman of the APC and the governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni, wrote a petition against him and the two other justices.
“My humble self had led my two brothers to attend a meeting with members of the PDP to strategise how to subvert the outcome of this case.
“I must say that this is most unfortunate, and my heart bleeds for this country,” revealed the judge.
He lamented that Mr Buni “would open his mouth and make this weighty statement against innocent justices of this court, then I say my heart bleeds.”
The justice added that “We are not interested in any matter,” just as he challenged the chairman and party as a whole to provide evidence of the meeting with the PDP to subvert APC’s interest.
He described the statement as “reckless and irresponsible,” noting that “these useless statements were made in the past, and that is why we are not taking it likely.
“If they have honour, let them substantiate their allegations, and I will not leave a day longer in this court. So, this matter is adjourned sine die (indefinitely), and parties should approach the Chief Justice of the Federation,” added Mr Datijo.
In his response, Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to Mr Ararume, described the statement as shocking, just as he denied his knowledge of the petition.
Mr Raji said, “This is very shocking. I swear with my last day in this court that I, Ahmed Raji, know nothing about this issue, and I condemn it with all the strength in me.
“I sympathise with your lordships, and whatever measure your lordship deems appropriate, we are fully in support.”
Similarly, Umeh Kalu, counsel to the APC, stated, “I am taken aback by this. I have never in my life met with the interim chairman of the APC.
“In matters of this nature, we normally deal with the legal adviser. In the first place, PDP is not a party in this matter.”