Witnesses abandon election petitioner in court


Three witnesses summoned to testify in the petition challenging the result of the re run election for Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency disappeared on Monday shortly after the Election Petition Tribunal began sitting.

The action of the witnesses created confusion at the tribunal, forcing the counsel to the petitioner, Mr Sunday Obende to request for adjournment.

The trio had been asked by the counsel to wait outside the tribunal in Jos to take turns to testify but decided to leave. 

The News Agency of Nigeria identified the witnesses as David Arin, a former councillor for Jos North Local Government, Terry Musa and Adams Adamu. 

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Peter Akujah (PDP), had petitioned the tribunal, chaired by Justice A. A. Nwaigwe, challenging the victory of Suleiman Kwande (DPP), in the Feb. 11, 2012 re run election for the constituency. 

Obende had listed the trio among his 34 witnesses but was surprised when he discovered that none of them was around when he wanted to summon them to testify. “My Lord, the witnesses were here in court but only went outside to be called in one after the other as is the practice, but to my surprise none of them is around. “I don’t know what went wrong after they went outside. I can’t explain what happened, but if they are not around, there is nothing one can do about it, “ Obende lamented. 

The counsel sought for adjournment, saying he could not examine other witnesses as the documents he would use in questioning them were not yet available. He told the tribunal that he was yet to receive the documents from INEC and the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC). The tribunal adjourned the case to May 28, for further hearing.