Listen to article
Ebonyi youths who were mostly drawn from the populous Umuekumenyi communities of the State are currently protesting against the relocation of the Elections Petition Tribunal from Abakaliki, the state capital, to Abuja.
They expressed concern that the decision might be biassed against their people who would like to testify at the tribunal but who cannot afford to go to Abuja due to the country’s difficult economic situation and the city’s high level of security danger.
Unwuekunenyi United youngsters Forum-affiliated youngsters demanded that the decision be reversed.
The Eastern Updates had earlier reported that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, had on Wednesday, announced the office of the Ebonyi Elections Petition Tribunal, Abakaliki, had been shut down.
She directed that the Tribunal be relocated to Abuja immediately.
According to her, all processes relating to matters before the Tribunal will continue in Abuja.
Read Also: You Committed Unforgivable Sins, IPOB Lambast Buhari
But the Ebonyi youths group at a press conference in Abakaliki, protested against the directive of the; President of the Appeal Court citing hardship on the people and lack of funds to mobilize both human and material resources to the nation’s capital during the sitting of the Tribunal.
According to the National President of the group, Prince Uche Ega, ‘We are Unwuekunenyi United Youths Forum; the apex youth organization of Unwuekunenyi extraction in Ebonyi State. We span over eighty (80%) percent of the population and are spread across ten (10) out of the 13 LGAs of the state. We freely elect to state as follows;
‘We frown at the decision to relocate the Ebonyi State Election Petition Tribunal at the instance of the PDP gubernatorial candidate for the March 18, 2023 election.
‘That going by the precedence that propped/threw up the PDP candidate, we are worried that there is bias of prejudice, in granting one party the preference of choosing a venue outside the Ebonyi State capital, Abakaliki.
‘Furthermore, the panel of judges in the Ebonyi State Election Petition Tribunal was never under any pressure of threat, attack or any other danger; neither was any party or persons to the post-election litigation being pressured, intimidated or attacked as to warrant the relocation of the Tribunal from Abakaliki to the FCT.
‘That the cost of transportation to Abuja is high, the security situation of the route to Abuja from Ebonyi is dangerous and other accruing logistics associated with the relocation is excruciating; witnesses to the matter may suffer abduction en route Abuja, thereby impeding the evidence required of them.
‘The present development surrounding the news of the relocation of the Tribunal to the FCT is already building tension and is capable of throwing the state into an avoidable and unnecessary crisis. Suffice it to say that this whole shenanigans are suspicious and are unacceptable to the people of Unwuekunenyi and the good people of the state.
‘On the strength of the foregoing, we therefore call on the relevant authorities namely the Nigeria Judicial Council, the Chief Justice of Nigeria , the President of the Appeal Court , and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to urgent consider our appeal and return the Tribunal to Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, as obtained in other peaceful states of the country.