Lawyer decries deteriorating venue for C/River election petition cases

Decaying infrastructure at Cross River State High Court

By PATRICK ABANG, Calabar –

A senior advocate of Nigeria, Murtala Abdul-Rasheed has condemned the venue of the Cross River State Election Petition Tribunal venue over what he called deteriorating state of the High Court.

He described the Tribunal venue as very shameful and disturbing.

The state High Court which is scheduled to host about 13 cases which arose from the 2023 elections petition cases.

Murtala Rasheed, SAN made this known during the inaugural sitting of the second panel which will hear some cases which arose from the national and state assembly elections in Cross River.

The learned silk said the state of the court is not conducive for the crucial task they have come to do, saying it’s a dangerous health hazard for members of the bar.

In his words, “No matter the capacity you may have, if the environment is not enabling, your productivity will be affected.

“I’ve observed and had privilege to attend Inaugural sittings in other places, my Lord, this court, this venue is not conducive for the arduous task you have come here to do.

“All we have here are broken chairs, ceilings, the fans are not working, the environment is overgrown with weeds and this can be a flourishing ground for dangerous reptiles.

“If we have two cases today in this venue, it will constitute a dangerous health hazard for us.

“This venue will adversely affect dispensation of justice because the judges are also human beings.

“They need a conducive environment to dispense justice to all manner of people.

“The tribunal must be made conducive for lawyers and judges to come and practice their trade.

“My appeal on behalf of the inner bar is that the observation be escalated to the constituting authority so we can have a better venue that will be enabling for us to carry out our assignment”, the senior advocate said.

Responding, the chairman of the panel, Justice M.A. Sambo, said the observation is good but the assignment must be done because there is no extension of time.

In his words, “This assignment must be done whether there is venue or no venue and we are all aware there is nothing like extension.

“This experience is nothing to us as we have worked in various jurisdictions some better then this and some worse.

“It’s a good observation and we are grateful for your comment, we will do our best in trying to see that our welfare is secured”, the tribunal chairman said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural sitting of Panel 2, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Alphonsus Eba, said it’s true the place is not conducive and he feels sad with what he has seen.

He said he has spoken to the State Chief Judge and the environment commissioner on the issue and will also report to the governor.

He promised that something will be done to improve the court facilities and the environment.

About three panels will handle the twenty nine petitions that arose from the just concluded general elections in Cross River State.

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