All Progressives Congress, APC and its candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, yesterday, reported to the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja that their witnesses, who had earlier testified, had received threats to their lives by unknown persons.
The petitioners, who are by their petition challenging the declaration of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the poll, had so far called 22 witnesses out of the 200 they proposed to bring to the tribunal, lodged the complaint to the tribunal through their lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), yesterday.
Olujinmi said their witnesses were receiving threats, warning them never to return to Port Harcourt, the state capital. “Those, who have appeared before the tribunal to testify, are warned not to return to Port Harcourt.
“Some of those we brought today have received phone calls, threatening to deal with them. A situation where lawyers and witnesses are being threatened will threaten justice. We want the court to be firm on this.”
Responding, Wike’s lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), denied knowledge of such threat adding that Olujinmi should have informed him about such development before bringing it to the knowledge of the tribunal.
PDP’s lawyer, Chris Uche(SAN), also denied knowledge of the case, saying the complaint could be part of the petitioners’ plan to use it as an excuse for not being able to call all their proposed witnesses.
“My people say, when a woman cannot deliver, she will say it is because of the spell her in-laws casted on her,” Uche said.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mohammed Ambrosa, said the tribunal would not be comfortable that “those who appear in court are not free,” and advised recipients of such threats to report to security agencies, who must investigate and take other necessary action.
Meanwhile, the petitioners yesterday called four witnesses, who testified that election did not hold on April 11 in their respective areas, adding that the votes with which Wike was said to have won were cooked up.
One of the witnesses, Dr. Lawrence Chukwu, who is a former Vice Chairman of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, said election materials never got to overwhelming number of polling units of the local government area on the election day.
Chukwu, the 19th witness called by the petitioners and a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, served as Vice Chairman of the local government during the period the incumbent Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, was the chairman between 1999 and 2006.

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