Friday 12 July 2019

Tribunal: PDP, Atiku miss chance to present 400 witnesses in 10 days

The chance of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar in the February 23 presidential election to present 400 witnesses

listed in their petition against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election within the remaining three days continued to tick away.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that all parties in the matter had agreed to open and close their cases within a specified period of time.

The parties therefore agreed to workable modalities in the management of time to ensure the petition was dispensed within the 180 days allowed by the Electoral Act.

From the agreement, the ten days allotted to the petitioners to open and close their argument which commenced on July 4 would expire on July 17.

NAN reports that all the respondents were also given six days to present their responses to the petitioners’ allegations.

In light of this, the respondents are expected to open their separate defences between July 18 and July 25.

However, on Friday, the petitioners urged the tribunal to adjourn until July 15.

Chief Chris Uche, SAN, Counsel for the petitioners had informed the tribunal that their witnesses earmarked for the day were not available.

Uche said the witnesses, who were based in Zamfara State were attacked by armed men while on their way to Abuja on Thursday.

Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, the lead counsel for the petitioners, rose to complement the information been availed the tribunal by Uche, adding that the witnesses were yet to found.

“My Lords, it is true that those we have listed to present for further testimonies were attacked while coming to Abuja from Zamfara State, and therefore it will be impracticable to go further.

“We pray for an adjournment until Monday, July 15 for continuation’’, Uzoukwu said.

So far, the petitioners have tendered 31,287 exhibits to prove various allegations of malpractice in the poll, but have presented less than 60 out of the 400 witnesses.

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