Lawyers raise alarm over plot to malign Imo Election Tribunal

A group, Lawyers in Defence of Democracy (LIDD), has condemned alleged plans by the Imo state government to malign and damage the reputation of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, and members of the Imo State Assembly/National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which is now sitting in Nasarawa state.

The group of lawyers in a statement signed by Barr. A.G. Obe for LIDD Friday, however, said that it was happy that there is a new Sheriff in town with the old order of things gone for good.

“Our stand on issues of democracy and law has always been constant. We represent and promote the highest ideals of democracy and would always stand for due process entrenched in the rule of law.

“It is against this backdrop that Lawyers in Defense of Democracy (LIDD) condemn in its entirety, the nocturnal meetings, consultations and wicked conspiracy by agents of the Imo state government to stage a state-sponsored protest with the sole aim of smearing the reputation of the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem and blackmailing the Tribunal Judges for the Imo State Assembly/National Assembly election petitions panel.

“They may not have factored in the reality that a new President has taken the saddle and the old order is gone for good.

“If they had his agents plotting to brow-beat the Imo election petitions tribunal Judges and blackmail the President of the Court of Appeal to silence and inaction, through their derailed protest march and media assault, would not have wasted state resources on a fool’s errand.

“So what are the issues? After all the concerted efforts by the same agents of government to frustrate the tribunal’s hearing in Owerri failed, suddenly, out of the blues, a threat to attack the Judges if they continue to sit emerged. Any responsible institution will swiftly ship it’s personnel out of the danger zone, and that was exactly what the President of the Court of Appeal did, relocating the Imo tribunal from Owerri to Nasarawa state for the safety of the officers of the law and the litigants.

“So, the planned protest march is a response to the relocation of the tribunal to a neutral ground where the Judges will be under less pressure to do the right thing, with no governor or individual threatening brimstone and fire if they did not play ball.

“The agents may still be under the illusion that their candidates who polled the least votes in election, can be arbitrarily declared winners and nothing will happen.

In the new administration, not many Judges want to be identified with such a stigmatizing judicial stunt.

“Who would want to gamble his life and safety in the state where Uzodinma’s aides violently attacked judicial officers of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Owerri, forcing the Court Judge to flee the state for the safety of his life, just because the court entered a judgment they felt was not in the interest of the state. 

“A government that holds nothing sacred will not think twice about attacking the tribunal and battering any judge whose disposition appears not to support their political interest.

“So anyone attacking the judges or the President of the Court of Appeal for relocating the tribunal, is an enemy of Imo people who has no interest in seeing that justice is served on all the electoral rogues that truncated the will of the people of Imo state during the legislative elections in the state.

“We therefore wish to assure that it would be a vain effort attempting to discredit the Judiciary, arm-twist the President of the Court of Appeal and intimidate the Imo Election Petitions Tribunal through their poorly planned protest march. 

“If they choose, his protesters can march from Government House to Omuma, the course of justice will not be derailed to serve the interest of Uzodinma and his ilks alone. We urge him to advise his lackeys to save their energy and rather work towards defending the stolen mandate they flaunt,” Barr. Obe stated.