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VPís seat: Supreme Court slams police, INEC for partiality

Posted by From GODWIN TSA, Abuja on 2007/03/30 | Views: 1930 |

VPís seat: Supreme Court slams police, INEC for partiality


The Supreme Court on Thursday berated the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC) for pitching their tents with the Presidency over the question of whether or not Vice President Atiku Abubakar still remains the number two citizen of the country after defecting to the Action Congress (AC).

Ö Fixes judgment April 20

The Supreme Court on Thursday berated the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC) for pitching their tents with the Presidency over the question of whether or not Vice President Atiku Abubakar still remains the number two citizen of the country after defecting to the Action Congress (AC).

The apex court was irked that rather than maintain a neutral ground on the issue, the leadership of the two agencies have associated themselves with the Presidency in asking that the seat of the vice president be declared vacant.

Meanwhile, the court has reserved its judgment on the matter till April 20, 2007.

On hand to take the bashing of the court, on behalf of their clients, were the two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Patrick Ikwueto (for Inspector General of Police) and Joe Kyari Gadzama (for INEC).

Justice Dahiru Musdapher first expressed his disgust on the role of the two agencies in the appeal. He frowned at the submissions made by the police and INEC and questioned their interest in the matter, particularly as it offends their constitutional function of neutrality and impartiality.
He asked: "What is the interest of the IGP in this matter? You got nothing to do in this case, (referring to the counsel to the police). What judgment did the Court of Appeal give against the IGP that you are cross appealing?

"The Inspector General of Police is to provide security and to maintain law and order and not to be political. In this suit, he is merely a nominal party. What is your business whether the office of the vice president remains vacant or not when a lot of crime is going on?" Justice Musdapher queried.
Also condemning the role of the police and INEC in the appeal brought by the Attorney- General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), Justice Sylvester Onu took on counsel to the police, Mr. Ikwueto while asking him to sit down.

His words: "What is the judgment of the Court of Appeal against your client? You donít have any business in this matter other than a nominal party."

Efforts by Ikwueto to wriggle out of the attack failed as he was ordered by the justices to sit down.
It was the turn of counsel to INEC, Mr. Gadzama, to take his bashing when he stood up to make his submissions. This time, Justice Tanko Mohammed took on him.
"You got nothing to do in this case. Your client INEC is supposed to be neutral, if Atiku ceased to be the vice president, INEC will not be called upon to conduct election for his replacement, it is the duty of the National Assembly," he said.

After all the parties in the appeal had adopted their written submissions, the court fixed April 20 to deliver its judgment.

The Court of Appeal had, in its judgment of February 20, 2007, held that Atiku remains the vice president till the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2007.
In addition, the appellate court declared that President Olusegun Obasanjo had no powers to withdraw, tamper or interfere with or violate the immunity conferred on the Atiku as the vice president or direct his arrest or prosecution.

The court directed the Federal Government to restore all the paraphernalia of the office of the vice president to Atiku.

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