By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed shock how two lawyers who are appointees of Gov. Nyesom Wike led PDP thugs to assault innocent witnesses in the Appeal Court of Justice Ali Gumel in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
In a statement signed by Rivers APC’s Spokesperson, Senibo Chris Finebone said, “trouble started after the lawyers of Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented their matter before the Justice Gumel appeal panel. Later, the court called the matter between the Rivers State Chapter of APC and Senator Magnus Abe. As counsels to parties announced their presence and presentations commenced, Barr. Chris Itamunala and Barr. Osima Ginah led a group of PDP thugs into the courtroom and they started attacking lawyers and witnesses claiming that the court should not sit in compliance with the ongoing NBA court boycott.”
Continuing he said, “Our party members, who were eager to have our matter heard by the Appeal Panel, were not spared by the hoodlums. Apart from the Justices, the PDP thugs led by Itamunala and Ginah assaulted everyone in the courtroom. All appeals by Justice Ali Gumel and his colleagues fell on deaf ears as the thugs kept shouting that the sitting must not hold even as they continued the physical attack.”
The APC recalled that the previous day, the same thugs had invaded the court claiming to enforce the NBA court boycott, adding that the fracas elicited strong words of condemnation from Justice Gumel.
“Lawyers are supposed to be keepers and protectors of laws but it is shameful that those who should protect the law and act as stakeholders in the quest for justice chose to desecrate the sanctity of the very temple of justice they are supposed to protect. It is sad,” Justice Gumel bemoaned.
“As a political party, we condemn this assault on the judiciary as seen today. We believe that members of the press who witnessed the unfortunate incident will not be deterred in bringing it to the public space for the benefit of Nigerians. Equally we believe that well-meaning Nigerians will condemn this act of wanton assault and desecration of the judiciary by agents of Rivers State Government under the guise of enforcing NBA court boycott. We know that the main purpose of the assault was to cause an indefinite postponement of the hearing of APC matters by the Appeal Court with a view to scuttling APC presence on INEC ballot for the forthcoming elections” Finebone said.
Rivers APC urged members of the judiciary not to fall for the cheap antics of Gov. Nyesom Wike, his agents and the PDP. We enjoin APC members to continue to remain law-abiding as we will surmount the present temporary hurdles by our opponents.