The All Progressives Congress in Rivers State has accused the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, of sending thugs to disrupt court processes.
Recall that there was an altercation between members of the Nigerian Bar Association and supporters of Tonye Cole, the Guber candidate of the APC at the Appeal Court on Wednesday.
The court was in session to determine the appeal filed by Cole challenging the ruling of the Federal High Court which barred INEC from recognising candidates of the All Progressives Congress for the 2019 elections.
Members of the NBA were in Court to enforce the directives of the association which mandated lawyers and judges to shun courts for two days for the illegal decision of President Mohammadu Buhari to suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen over assets declaration.
But the publicity secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone said those who invaded the courts were thugs sent by Wike.
According to Finebone, the judiciary should not bow to Wike’s antics.
He said: “Trouble started after the lawyers of Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented their matter before the Justice Gumel appeal panel. Later, the court called the matter between the Rivers State Chapter of APC and Senator Magnus Abe.
“As counsels to parties announced their presence and presentations commenced, Barr. Chris Itamunala and Barr. Osima Ginah led a group of PDP thugs into the courtroom and they started attacking lawyers and witnesses claiming that the court should not sit in compliance with the ongoing NBA court boycott.
“Our party members, who were eager to have our matter heard by the Appeal Panel, were not spared by the hoodlums. Apart from the Justices, the PDP thugs led by Itamunala and Ginah assaulted everyone in the courtroom.
“All appeals by Justice Ali Gumel and his colleagues fell on deaf ears as the thugs kept shouting that the sitting must not hold even as they continued the physical attack.
“We recall that the previous day, the same thugs had invaded the court claiming to enforce the NBA court boycott. That fracas elicited strong words of condemnation from Justice Gumel.
“Lawyers are supposed to be keepers and protectors of laws but it is shameful that those who should protect the law and act as stakeholders in the quest for justice chose to desecrate the sanctity of the very temple of justice they are supposed to protect. It is sad,” Justice Gumel bemoaned.
“As a political party, we condemn this assault on the judiciary as seen today. We believe that members of the press who witnessed the unfortunate incident will not be deterred in bringing it to the public space for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Equally we believe that well-meaning Nigerians will condemn this act of wanton assault and desecration of the judiciary by agents of Rivers State Government under the guise of enforcing NBA court boycott.
“We know that the main purpose of the assault was to cause an indefinite postponement of the hearing of APC matters by the Appeal Court with a view to scuttling APC presence on INEC ballot for the forthcoming elections.
“We urge members of the judiciary not to fall for the cheap antics of Gov. Nyesom Wike, his agents and the PDP. We enjoin APC members to continue to remain law-abiding as we will surmount the present temporary hurdles by our opponents.”