2023: Politicians using police to intimidate opposition, lawyers – SERAP

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has alleged that some top politicians in the country are deploying the police to arrest legal experts defending opposition parties in election tribunals.

In the wake of post-election agitations, some opposition lawyers were reportedly arrested.

For instance, the Rivers state Police Command, Sunday, confirmed the arrest of three lawyers —Jerry Aondo, Sobere Nelson and Odum Eyiba— filing proceedings at the election petition tribunal for the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It said five support staff working with the legal team to challenge the outcome of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state were picked up alongside the lawyers in the state capital, Port Harcourt.

Following the arrests, Nigerians, including the legal luminary, Femi Falana, had condemned the development, saying it lacked legal justification.

“The primary purpose of the latest display of naked power is to frustrate the opposition from filing an election petition against the rigging and violence that marred the March 18 governorship election in Rivers state,” the legal expert said.

SERAP in a tweet on its verified Twitter handle Monday described the act as outrightly unconstitutional.

It insisted that the latest plot was to deny aggrieved political parties access to justice.

“Some Nigerian politicians are apparently using the police to arrest election petition lawyers presumably to compromise the evidence of their political opponents. This is a flagrant violation of the Nigerian constitution. Access to justice is a fundamental right,” the organisation wrote.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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