Thugs Loyal to Ekiti Governor-Elect, Ayo Fayose Storms Court, Judge, Lawyers Flee
Thugs allegedly loyal to the Ekiti State governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose yesterday stormed the court where a case is being heard against Fayose in Ekiti.
Justice Isaac Ogunyemi ruled of the Ekiti State High Court had that the court had jurisdiction to hear the integrity case against Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the governor-elect and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the June 21 election.
But soon after, hoodlums, some of whom had earlier engaged the security officials in the courtroom in arguments over what they saw as impartiality, said the security agents barred their party men from entering the courtroom and sitting down while the hearing lasted but allowed the opposition.
The argument soon snowballed into full scale confrontation. People were shouting and people perceived to be obstructing the thugs’ aspirations were dragged on the courtroom’s floor and dealt blows, using all manner of objects.
Judges, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), lawyers, journalists, court officials and magistrates ran for dear lives, hiding in offices, court registries, under chairs, tables, other places and objects which could serve as temporary hideouts, as the hoodlums assaulted defenceless people.
As thugs went from office to office to seek out perceived opposition members who they dealt with without resraint, the police, who thinned both in number and significance, watched helplessly. Shots were fired by those no one could ascertain but these could not deter the rampaging band who had reduced the court rooms to a rendezvous of mayhem and unrest.
Mr. Justice Ogunyemi became a target of the hoodlums, who openly condemned his ruling.
They sang songs in Yoruba to condemn the said ruling and threatened to deal with him (Mr. Justice Ogunyemi) if accessible. The intervention of a special group of about six officers from the Riot Squad however assured a safe escape for Mr. Justice Ogunyemi, who all along had been holed up in his office. His (Mr. Justice Ogunyemi’s) escape around 12:55 pm effectively halted proceedings for the day.
Mr. Justice Ogunyemi had declared that he had jurisdiction to entertain the cases of the Citizens Popular Party (CPP) and that of Adeniyi Ajakaye and others, which challenged the eligibility of Mr. Ayo Fayose to contest the June 21 election.
In a ruling on Fayose’s and PDP’s preliminary objection, Mr. Justice Ogunyemi maintained that the respondent had not judiciously discharged the responsibility under the law of evidence to furnish the court with sufficient evidence upon which the relief sought by the defendant applicant could be based.
Mr. Justice Ogunyemi also declared both the CPP and the PDP as non juristic persons who could not sue or be sued. He, however, submitted that striking out the names of the second claimant and second defendant did not affect the relief sought by the claimant on eligibility pursuant to Order 13, Rule 16 (1) of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules of Ekiti State.
He also dismissed the application of the respondent, which challenged his ruling of June 6 in an ex-parte application on the abridgment of time within which the respondent could file his reply, declaring that the said order the defendant sought to set aside was not obtained fraudulently as contended by the defendants.
Mr. Justice Ogunyemi dismissed PDP’s application, saying the court cannot set aside its June 6 ruling and that the time frame had been overtaken by events, which he (Justice Ogunyemi) maintained had rendered the whole exercise a mere academic exercise.
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