The Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which on Wednesday voided the declaration of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf as winner of the March election, has come down hard on his supporters for threatening the lives of the panelists while the trial was on.
The tribunal accused the supporters of ‘chasing’ the panelists out of Kano, saying that such conduct smacked of terrorism and anarchy.
It declared that no judge worth his salt would abandon the course of justice for intimidation.
A similar tribunal in Benue State yesterday upheld the election of Governor Hyacinth Alia.
A member of the Kano State tribunal, Justice Benson Anya, said in his judgment that it was wrong of any individual or group to “threaten the entire polity of Kano State with violence” because of a court decision.
Anya’s judgment runs from page 225 to page 228 of the tribunal’s full verdict.
He said:”The judges of this tribunal were harassed, intimidated and made to run under cover. What is the offence of the judiciary?
“The Respondents contributed heavily to the success of this petition. At the pleading stage they made critical admissions. At the trial stage they supplied critical and important documents. Yet at the judgment stage the 2nd Respondent (Yusuf) does not want this tribunal to stand by justice by stating the truth of the matter.
“They took the position as was widely reported in the media both print and social that if they lose the case, they will kill the judges and put the residents of Kano on fire.
“We are also citizens of this country in Kano to discharge our lawful duties. We have not committed any offence by performing our duty at adjudication.
“My message to the bandits in politics who want to take power by force is that the judiciary cannot be intimidated. The judiciary will never run away from justice.
“A party who loses a case or anticipates the loss of his case can only prepare to appeal against the decision of the lower court or prepare to appeal. This is what is obtainable in a civilised society.
“Kano State, as we all know, is a cradle of civilization. No party on account of losing a case or on the basis of speculation of the possible loss of a case threatens to go on the rampage against the Court and Honourable Judges.
“It is wrong to threaten the entire polity of Kano State with violence. A party must not threaten terrorism and mayhem on the people.
“The decision of the court must not be taken personal as to warrant an attack and violence against the Judiciary functionaries as threatened by the agents of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.”
He condemned “the gang of Red Cap wearers who, like a violent and terrorist cult, chased us out of Kano and put us in the fear of our lives.
“We believe that only Allah is the giver of power.”
Continuing, Justice Anya said: “Those who believe in Allah must bow to his will and submit to the authority of governmental power.
“Resort to anarchy, violence and killing can never be a source of lawful power.
“Threatening to put Honourable Judges in the danger of their life as done in Kano by some disgruntled bandits parading as politicians is hereby condemned.
“Every judge worth his salt will always abandon and ignore any form of threat to stand by justice and pronounce justice.
“This tribunal in the lead judgment has pronounced judgment, and we stand by justice.
“I concur with the lead judgment and commend my Lord the chairman for delivering judgment under the threatened fire and brimstone by bitter losers.
“There is always another day for politics.
“I am in no doubt that the security agencies know and are aware of those who removed their eyes from their case and put it on the judiciary.
“They are also aware of those who extended the threat further by declaring that they will kill the judges.
“This threat must not be swept under the carpet.
“Instead of some Kano politicians to be allowed to use banditry and violence to abort democracy in Kano State, justice will be used to stop them from destroying democracy in Kano and upward.
“We do not want anarchy and terrorism as being promoted in Kano State and as threatened by them.
“As human beings and citizens of this country, we love our lives.
“Nobody must be allowed to threaten to put our lives in jeopardy because we are judges charged by law to do justice.
“We are under the protection of Allah first and of the law.”
The threats were the main reason the judgment was delivered by Zoom.