April 12, 2024

Kogi Guber Tribunal: Witness Denies Kidnapping Claims, Warns Against Disinformation

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Hon. Tayo Abiodun Richard, a witness in the ongoing Kogi State 2023 governorship election petition tribunal, has refuted claims that three witnesses were kidnapped. He described the reports as “fake news” and urged the public to disregard them.

In response to recent reports suggesting the kidnapping incident and intimidation of eye witnesses, Tayo states that he appeared in court on Monday “peacefully and without any sign of intimidation,” and that the kidnapping claims are “fake news.”

The height of the misinformation was an appeal directed to the President of the Appeal Court by a non-existent group, “Kogi Youth Frontiers for Good Governance.” The Misleading appeal, signed by one Comrade Ibrahim Danjuma, expressed concerns over security issues during the Tribunal, urging intervention for the safety of Kogi citizens.

The group which appears to be a formulation for propaganda wrote, “We, the members of this concerned organization ‘ Kogi Youth Frontiers for Good Governance’ are using this medium to appeal to the office of the President of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of the good people of Kogi State both at home and Diaspora to kindly wade into some security concerns plaguing the 2023 Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal as it is currently sitting in Abuja.”

It added that “With this ugly and ignoble development and for the safety of Tribunal officials, lawyers and INEC staffers and the witnesses, the Tribunal listened to the appeal of Kogites and considered it proper to move its sittings to Abuja and which to us in this group and to the generality of Kogites welcomed it and considered the decision as very timely, right, ideal and cogent.”

The group urged allowing witnesses to provide evidence via SkyZoom to prevent intimidation and physical or verbal attacks. Allegations were made that three witnesses from a political party were kidnapped in Abuja, adding to concerns for the safety of other witnesses.

In response, Hon. Tayo clarified that he, along with other witnesses were present in court and are doing very fine. He urged the public to disregard the fake news of witnesses being kidnapped, assuring that the Tribunal is in control of the case. He emphasized the need to focus on facts rather than misinformation, adding that suggesting digital platforms for the proceedings could mar the judgment delivery process. He said all parties have enjoyed equal and fair treatment so far and that the continuous spread of fake news and misinformation to the public by some “miscreants” will give Kogi State a negative image in the committee of States in Nigeria. As such, he adviced all those involved in such acts to desist from negative propaganda which he said started during the electioneering and uptil after the election and even now at the Tribunal.

Recalling the 2023 governorship election, where Ahmed Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner with a wide margin, the election received positive reviews for being free, fair, and peaceful by international observers. While major opponents like Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Congress and famous Senator Dino Melaye of the People’s Democratic Party, among others accepted defeat, a few parties continue to challenge the voting processes in court. However, the Tribunal appears to remain committed to a fair and just resolution.

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