Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the President of the court of Appeal has ordered the relocation of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal from Ado-Ekiti to Abuja.
This decision was made as a result of the crisis that rocked the tribunal over the september 25 hearing of the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress against Governor Ayo Fayose.
The notice was signed by the tribunal secretary, Mr. Abubakar Ishaq.
It will be recalled that the APC had written a letter requesting the transfer of the case from Ado-Ekiti over the crisis in which it claimed that the party lawyers were attacked by thugs during the violence that led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the state.
,“Lawyers were attacked, with some having the side mirror of their vehicles broken, windshields were shattered and stones were hurled at lawyers inside the tribunal. Mr. Akeredolu’s car was hit with stones and sticks and he was called several unprintable names.
“At least, one judge of Ado Ekiti High Court, whose court is situated within the same premises where the tribunal sat, was physically attacked with his robe torn.
“All these things happened in the presence of the policemen who were posted to the premises to maintain peace and order, but they all (allegedly) looked away from the mayhem
“Now, what is clear from the whole incident is that the citadel of justice has been turned into a warfront. In that kind of situation, justice is under serious intimidation. Judges, lawyers, witnesses and other stakeholders are not safe. In such an atmosphere, justice can never be done.
“Our commitment as professionals in the temple of justice does not require us to knowingly expose our lives to the danger of annihilation. We also do not believe that the system should knowingly expose any judge, lawyer and witnesses to obvious risks.
“In the premises, it becomes compelling to move the trial of the petition out of Ado-Ekiti State. This has happened in the past, the latest of which was the Borno State governorship election 2011, which had to be moved to Abuja for hearing due to the security situation there.
“We, therefore, humbly apply to Your Lordship for the immediate transfer of the petition which now stands adjourned to 14th October, 2014 to Abuja, a neutral ground, for hearing and determination.” the letter read.
The tribunal will resume sitting on Tuesday at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja instead of Ado-Ekiti.