Coalition leads 5,000 aggrieved activists to US, international community over Appeal Court ruling on Plateau lawmakers

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The Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria (CCFN), Tuesday, held a massive protest of over 5,000 activists to challenge the Appeal Court ruling targeted at opposition lawmakers in Plateau State.

In a letter to the United States Ambassador, the coalition said the rally was to draw the attention of the International community to the threat to democracy and national security in Nigeria.

It lamented that the judiciary in Nigeria has been eroded by politicians who have openly boasted about their influence on judges.

According to the coalition, what is happening in Plateau is a rape of democracy and a threat to national security in all ramifications.

“The Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria writes this letter to bring to the United States of America’s attention the threat to democracy and national security in Nigeria,” the letter reads.

“We are alarmed that with the recent happenings in some parts of Nigeria, if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation, the country might erupt in crisis due to the brazen display by some politicians.

“It has also been observed that the independence of the Judiciary in Nigeria has been eroded by politicians who have openly boasted about their influence in the Judiciary. The recent events in Plateau state regarding the outcomes of the election petition tribunals are worrisome.

“The Ambassador may wish to know that there has been a well-orchestrated plan to use the Judiciary to truncate the wish of the people of Plateau state in its choice of leaders in parliament and the state government.

“The state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been working neck deep with the Judiciary to upturn the results of a fair election where the people voted massively for candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“This was evident in the recent Court of Appeal rulings that systematically targeted only PDP members in the National Assembly. It is also in the public domain how Hon Yusuf Gagdi, a member of the House of Representatives from Plateau State, boosted as influencing the Judiciary to influence the outcome of judgments.

“True to his words, the various election petition tribunals have delivered judgments in favor of the APC candidates in the state to the consternation of the good people of Plateau state, who turned out in discomfort to exercise their electoral rights.

“What is happening in Plateau state is a rape of democracy and a threat to National Security in all ramifications. A situation where judgments are made on pre-election issues leaves more to be imagined.

“The position of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act, as amended, is clear that pre-election matters can’t be entertained in a post-election matter. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld this position in several cases that served as antecedents.

“The Court of Appeal, in its judgments, indeed turned the law on its head by contravening the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act as amended.

“The people of Plateau state are in a state of shock and disbelief with the turn of events, which does not augur well for the fragile peace in the state given its long history of ethnic, religious, and political unrest.

“The Ambassador may wish to know that the rape of democracy in Plateau state has the potential to ignite another round of conflict of immeasurable proportion as the people feel robbed and exploited by the judgments of the Court of Appeal in the determination of election-related matters.

“The Concerned Citizens Forum of Nigeria is against this brazen display by the Judiciary without recourse to the effect such action would have on the people and, by extension, national security. ”

The coalition, therefore, urged the United States “as a worthy democratic partner with Nigeria to rise to the occasion by demanding justice and fairness from the Judiciary in the case of Plateau state.”