APC members threatening my witnesses, Akinlade alleges at Ogun tribunal

Adekunle Akinlade: Ogun governorship candidate of APM

Adejoke Adeleye/Abeokuta
Counsel of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) in the ongoing Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting at the state High  Court 8, Isabo, Abeokuta, Hon Sebastian (SAN) has alleged that some of witnesses he wanted to call had received threats to life and were under immense pressure not to appear before the tribunal.
Sebastian made the allegation on Wednesday before the tribunal presided over by Justice Yusuf Halilu at the Ogun state High Court.
In swift reaction, the defence counsel of the APC, Dele Adesina (SAN) opposed the allegation, saying the governor, Dapo Abiodun, cannot hurt a fly.
ebastian also claimed the State commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama had ordered the withdrawal of the police security of the the governorship candidate of the APM, Hon. Abdulkadir Adekunle Akinlade.
The counsel therefore appealed to the Presiding judge for adjournment to enable hem time to evaluate the security situation and ensure security of their witnesses before presenting them to the court.
Justice Halilu, after listening to both counsels adjourned the sitting to Monday June 24th.
He also called on the Commissioner of Police to look into the security threats, saying they must not be trivialised.
He noted that the petitioner has the right to communicate his fears to the court, adding “we must be alive to achieve our objectives. If indeed there is any iota of truth in these threats, I want the Police, DSS and other security agencies to look into the matter.”
While addressing newsmen shortly after the court proceedings, Dr. Sebastian said, “The witnesses who are to come and testify have been threatened just yesterday. The father of one of them came here. He said his life is under threat and that his son wanted to kill him. The rest have been under threat as well. So we told the tribunal that we can’t proceed today after we managed to secure the attendance of three witnesses”.
He added that “We are going back to look at the security situation and appeal to the authorities. I personally would be making this appeal as well because we counsel, fellow petitioners and the petitioners themselves need security, to ventilate their grievances at the tribunal, because the tribunals are established by the constitution of Nigeria to have electoral disputes resolved.”
“People should be able to come to the law court without any fear. In this case, we have every right to be here and we ask the Inspector General of Police, SSS and all concerned to offer security to us.
“We have just appealed to the Inspector general of Police because I am made to understand by my client that It was the CP himself that withdrew his personal security. Our fate lies more in the hands of the Inspector General of Police than the Commissioner of Police.  We are not disparaging him, we are not trying to reduce his status, we are only saying the Inspector General of Police should look into our case.”
Reacting, the APC’s Defence Counsel, Dele Adesina SAN  described the decision to adjourn the case as unacceptable, as, according to him, the tribunal proceedings had been peaceful so far.
“I’m sure this tribunal is taken aback by this allegation and we’re all surprised. If they can call 28 witnesses without any molestation, then I don’t know what he is talking about. I don’t see or imagine a more peaceful atmosphere than what we are seeing here today. It is evident for everybody to see.”
“Beyond that, the person who is the Governor of the state today, my client is a man of peace just like I described him as a dove inside the tribunal room. I know him intimately. But, you know we lawyers can make a mountain out of a mole hill, we can describe a no petition as a petition.” he said.
He assured that the defense counsel would liaise with the petitioners to meet with the commissioner of Police to look into the society threats.