Hoodlums Invade Ekiti Court, Disrupt Proceedings
Posted: 23/Sep/2014

Confusion enveloped the premises of the Ekiti State High Court on Monday as hoodlums invaded the place to disrupt proceedings in a case challenging the eligibility of the Governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to contest the June 21 election won by him.

The invasion took place shortly after the judge, Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi, refused an application to set aside an order abridging the time for the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate to file defence in the case filed on behalf of the Ekiti-11 by a member, Mr. Femi Ajakaiye.

The judge had adjourned sitting till 12 noon to prepare a ruling in a similar matter filed by the Citizen Popular Party before troubles began.

As he was preparing to return for the continuation of the matter, angry youths besieged the court while the judge was smuggled out of the chambers through the back door to avoid being lynched by the aggressors.

Other judges, lawyers and others in court, including journalists, ran for their dear lives as the protesters went after perceived opponents. It could not be confirmed if Police made any arrest.

The hoodlums numbering about a hundred were aggrieved about the perceived partiality of the judge in handling the case.

In the ensued melee, the Chairman of Ado West Local Council Development Authority, Mr Sunday Ibitoye, and Ajakaye, were attacked.

The hoodlums had earlier engaged security officials in the courtroom in arguments for preventing some of them from entering the courtroom while allowing others in.

The rampaging youth, who called the trial judge all sorts of unprintable names, alleged that he was impartial in handling the matter for showing interest beyond official reasons.

The judge who had assumed jurisdiction in the case had ruled that he could not reverse his decision to abridge the time as the court had become “functus officio” having taken a decision on the issue.

Contrary to the argument by the PDP, the court said the decision to abridge the time did not contravene Section 32 of the 1999 Constitution.

Justice Ogunyemi, said  the PDP and Fayose failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the reasons why the Court cannot hear the substantive suit.

The judge consequently dismissed PDP’s application, saying the court cannot set aside its own ruling of June 6, and that the time frame had been over-taken by events, which he maintained had rendered the whole exercise a mere academic exercise.

Commenting, the Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Hon Jide Awe, said “We are back to Idi Amin era in Ekiti where Judges and Lawyers are being attacked in the face of the Court. This is terrible.

But the APC has no case in the Court and we were not there to witness the attack,” he added.

Also commenting, the PDP Publicity Secretary, Kola Oluwawole, urged Justice Ogunyemi to steer clear of the case alleging that he had connived with the ruling APC.

Accusing the judge of bias, Okuwawole said: “The Judge openly demonstrated in his ruling that he has jurisdiction on the matter and simultaneously commenced hearing of the matter without giving the respondent the opportunity to signify the appeal on it.

“The PDP also condemned the barbaric action of the APC thugs who attacked voters that voluntarily voted for Ayo Fayose in the last Governorship election,” he added.