The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano yesterday threatened to relocate to Abuja if any of its members face the slightest security threat in the state. The Presiding judge, Justice Halima S. Muhammad, said this while condemning a cyber attack meted on one of the witnesses who testified before the tribunal for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the case.
“If a life of a witness is threatened just because she came to testify here, then we cannot just sit here and think we are safe,” the learned judge said.
“So, please let us not go that way, if not I will be forced to move my panel to Abuja,” she warned.
Justice Muhammad said she was the one who insisted that the tribunal sit in Kano in order to give the people of the state the opportunity to see and hear what was transpiring in the tribunal. “If we are in Abuja, you can only hear on radio,” she said. The decision of the tribunal followed a complaint by Counsel to INEC, Adedayo Adedeji, who informed the court that one of the witnesses, Halima Sambo Hassan, who testified for the 1st respondent was attacked on social media. Mrs Hassan was an electoral officer of Ungogo Local Government Area, who testified for INEC and her picture was captured after her testimony and posted on social media, linking her to the government of the state, as a result of which she was attacked by several people who raided all words of insult against her personality. Adedeji described the act as contempt of court and requested that the tribunal take appropriate action. Also condemning the incident, counsel to PDP, Maliki Kuliya Umar, described the action as unacceptable and a harassment to the administration of justice. In her ruling, Justice Halima ordered that the matter be investigated by the appropriate authorities.