Muritala Abdulrasheed, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) at the Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) in Cross River has lamented the poor state of the venue for sitting of the National and State Houses of Assembly election petition.
Abdulrasheed who gave his concerns before Justice Mohammed Sambo on Friday in Calabar during the inaugural sitting of panel 2 of the Tribunal said the courtroom was not conducive and should not be used.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EPT in Cross River has before it 29 petitions, 26 of which are for National and State Houses of Assembly and the remaining three petitions are for the governorship election.
NAN further reports that the 26 petitions for the National and State Houses of Assembly were divided into two panels of 13 petitions each while the date for the inaugural sitting for the governorship petitions was still awaited.
The SAN who complained of the broken seats, tables, fans and ceiling in the courtroom added that the compound was also overgrown with weeds and could harbour dangerous reptiles.
READ ALSO: Fashola inaugurates electronic C of O, says can be accessed within 24hrs
“My Lord, this is a national assignment and so, you should be given the tools to work, venue of the tribunal should be made conducive for judges and lawyers to practice their trade
“Also, we know whenever there is any petition, supporters of the candidate and party will come making the court crowded, without ventilation and security.
“We need to escalate this matter so that a better venue that is conducive for the dispensation of justice is provided”, he said.
He added that though judiciary workers in Cross River were on strike, the National Industrial and Federal High Courts were in the state and one of their courtrooms could be used for the sitting.
Responding, Sambo, Chairman of the Panel appealed for patience adding that the strike of the judiciary workers in the state was making the job difficult even though the time was short.
According to him, “I have been in many tribunals in different states with similar experience, I appeal to the lawyers to do their best to ensure that this assignment is done.
“It is too early to begin to ask the Appeal Court President for a change of venue as venues in the state are limited; this assignment must be carried out with or without a venue because there is no extension of time”.
On his part, Mr Atta Ochinke, Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Calabar Branch said he was confident that the panel would do justice for the wishes of the people to reflect in their judgement.
He appealed to members of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, (JUSUN), in Cross River and the state government to make concessions adding that some of the demands of JUSUN were genuine.
Confirming the unkempt environment of the venue of the tribunal, Mr Alphonsus Eba, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Cross River said the matter would be taken up with the state government.
Get Faster News Update On: WhatsApp and Telegram