Fayose led thugs to beat judges, CJ tells NJC

The Chief Judge of Ekiti
State, Justice Ayodeji
Daramola, has tabled
before the National
Judicial Council ahead
of the council’s meeting
scheduled for
Thursday, a petition accusing the state’s Governor-elect, Mr.
Ayodele Fayose, and the police of complicity in the attack on
judges and court workers in the state last week.
A copy of the September 26, 2014 petition addressed to the
Ekiti State Commissioner of Police of which was also
attached to a covering letter sent to the Chief Justice of
Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, as the Chairman of the NJC,
was exclusively obtained by The PUNCH from a police
source in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday.
The covering letter sent to the Chief Judge was learnt to have
been dated September 29.
Justice Daramola, in his petition to both the NJC and the
Ekiti State Commissioner of Police, accused Fayose of
leading a large number of thugs, who disrupted court
proceedings, beat up judges and court workers and also tore
court records.
He also accused the policemen and other law enforcement
agents deployed within and outside the court premises of
“looking on completely uninterested and unconcerned”
while the attacks by the thugs on the court workers and
users lasted.
The Chief Judge justified the closure of the courts in the
state after the mayhem, an action which he said was to avert
“looming danger within the premises of the High Court of
Ekiti State” after the police officers “posted to guard and
protect the integrity of the court and its personnel have
failed us and left us at the mercy of political hoodlums”.
It was also learnt on Tuesday that Fayose had through, his
lawyers, sent a separate petition to the NJC, alleging that the
Justices of the Governorship Election Tribunal, sitting in Ado-
Ekiti High Court headquarters had received bribe.
Fayose alleged that the panel members had been bribed by
Governor Kayode Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress
to rule against him on September 25, when the court
proceedings were disrupted by thugs allegedly loyal to him.
Fayose led thugs to court
But the Chief Judge, in the petitions both entitled, ‘Ekiti State
Judiciary under siege of political thugs,’ chronicled the
invasion of the court premises in Ado-Ekiti, by thugs
between September 22 and September 24.
The petition read in part, “Now on Thursday, the 25th day of
September, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the governor-elect, again
led thousands of people and thugs into the premises of the
High Court beating and maiming members of staff.
“The thugs invaded my court where I was to deliver a
judgment in a land matter, tore the record books, beat court
officials and vandalized the furniture in Court No. 1.
“The political thugs descended on Hon. Justice J. A Adeyeye,
the presiding judge in Court No. 3 beat and dragged him on
the ground. The judge’s suit was also torn into shreds. I
could not gain entrance into the premises of the court and
had to hurriedly turn back on being alerted that I was the
prime target of the hooligans.”
Justice Daramola said the attack on the court on September
25 was preceded by a similar siege on the court premises on
September 22, when thugs allegedly loyal to Fayose
disrupted court proceedings apparently to avert the delivery
of a ruling which they suspected could go against the
governor-elect.
The plaintiffs in the suit are challenging Fayose’s eligibility to
contest the governorship election.
The CJ said he was at the Supreme Court in Abuja attending
the special court session marking the commencement of the
new legal year and the conferment of the rank of Senior
Advocate of Nigeria on some lawyers when the violence first
broke out on Monday, September 22.
A copy of the petition reads in part, “On Monday 22nd day of
September, while I was attending the Supreme Court Special
sitting in Abuja, I was called on phone that thugs loyal to Mr.
Ayodele Fayose have invaded the headquarters of the
judiciary of Ekiti State where Hon. Justice I.O Ogunyemi was
delivering a ruling on the matter instituted against him.
“The thugs beat workers black and blue while the presiding
judge and lawyers had to run for their lives. They smashed
windows and furniture. Meanwhile, the policemen deployed
within and without the premises in large number were
looking on completely uninterested and unconcerned while
these thugs were on prowl beating and maiming workers
and court users.
“The thugs went on searching for the judge who ran into
hiding. It took your (the Commissioner of Police) personal
intervention when you were duly informed on phone to rush
to the scene of the mayhem within the court premises to
rescue the said judge and took him out into safety.”
According to him, from the events which followed that of
September 22, it appears that the whole episode of violence
was pre-planned.
His petition further read, “The above in the main was just
the beginning of what would appear to be a pre-planned
long siege and onslaughts on the court and its personnel.
“The political hoodlums showed again in large numbers on
Tuesday, 23rd and Wednesday 24th of September, 2014 on
the spurious ground that they came to listen to the ruling
which they did not allow the presiding judge in Court No. 6
to deliver on Monday, September 22, 2014. No such ruling
was slated for hearing since the thugs invaded the premises
of the court on Monday.”
The Chief Judge said all entreaties to the police and law
enforcement agencies to intervene in the mayhem yielded
no positive response.
He stated, “It is needless to reiterate here that while the
mayhem and attack on judges and staff and property of the
court was in progress, scores of policemen and SSS (State
Security Service) operatives posted to protect lives and
property within the court premises looked on and watched
without taking any step to save the situation.
“All entreaties to officers and men of Ekiti State Command to
protect the court as an important institution of state yielded
no positive response.”

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