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Police, Prisons officials in Confrontation at Edo Election Tribunal as Disagreement Among Counsels Stalls Proceedings


Police operatives on duty at venue of the Edo State Election Petition Tribunal, located within the State High Court Complex along Sapele Road, Wednesday, clashed with men and officials of the Nigeria Prisons Service, over restriction of movement around the venue.
Movement of vehicles on major routes leading to the tribunal complex was restricted by the police, following an earlier clash between supporters of the APC and PDP at the tribunal venue, to ward off thugs and beef up security around the building.
Trouble was said to have started when a female prison officer ‎was prevented from gaining access to the state headquarters of the service located on Reservation Road, which was also blocked by the Police.
The prison officer, said to be a Superintendent and dressed in mufti, ‎had insisted on driving towards her office after she was advised to take an alternative route after the Police operatives reportedly refused to grant her access even after she identified herself.
It was gathered that this led to a hot exchange of words and attracted the attention of passers-by and other motorists while the Tribunal was still in session.
It later degenerated to a violent confrontation between the policemen and some prison officers, who shoved one another during the argument.
It was learnt that some prison warders who were reportedly mobilised ‎to the scene were chased away with the use of a pepper spray.
Though State Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, could not be reached for comments, ‎the Public Relations Officer ‎of the state prison command, Aminu Sulaiman, confirmed the incident, saying “We received the report and the matter would be investigated.”
Meanwhile,hearing in the election petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu‎, challenging the victory of Godwin Obaseki at the September 28, 2016 Edo gubernatorial polls, made no progress on Wednesday, following disagreement among counsels to the parties over documents tendered at the Tribunal .
When hearing of the petition commenced in ernest, counsel to the petitioners, Mallam Yusuf Alli, SAN,‎ who led other Lawyers, told the Tribunal that he would start his case by tendering the non-contentious certified electoral documents common to all the parties in the petition.
He added that some of the documents, Form EC8 E would be tendered in batches according to polling units.
Counsel to the respondents however objected to the opening remarks, as they disagreed on the mode of tendering the documents, insisting that they had no knowledge of the documents sought be tendered.
This forced the Tribunal to adjourn for about one and half hours to enable the parties sort the documents and reach a consensus.
At resumption of proceedings Alli tendered Forms EC8 E, EC8 D and at the point of tendering Forms EC8 C (results for 17 local government areas), which the respondents’ counsel objected to, insisting that they only examined the result for Akoko-Edo and were yet to examine those for the seventeen other local governments areas.
Though the Tribunal ruled that the documents be examined by respondents’ counsel before tendering them, much progress was not made in the hearing, forcing INEC lead counsel , Hassan Liman, SAN, to propose that petitioners and respondents’ counseld should liaise with the Tribunal’s Registrar to sort out the docu‎mments before full trial commences.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Ahmed Badamasi ruled that the parties should meet with the Tribunal Registrar to sort out the documents and then adjourned the hearing on the petition to January 16,‎ 2017.


At Instance of Prosecution Counsel, Saraki’s Trial at CCT Continues Jan. 17

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