Revealed: How Imo politicians are threatening Election Petition Tribunal with unknown gunmen

* Courts shut over alleged ‘Threat Letter’ from bandits

There was palpable tension at the premises of the Imo state Magistrate Court, Orlu road in Tuesday following the receipt of a ‘threat letter’ allegedly written by ‘unknown gunmen’ warning that no tribunal cases be further entertained in the state.

Sources at the court told our reporter that the warning from the bandits came on Tuesday morning.

According to one of the sources, “the letter warned that no further tribunal cases should be entertained starting from today. But if the court wants to dare us, they will have themselves to blame.”

Meanwhile, information reaching our correspondent revealed that the court premises, were immediately after the receipt of the said letter deserted and the gates under lock and keys.

One of the lawyers who pleaded anonymity, said the ongoing Election Petition Tribunal may be relocated to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for further hearing, where the safety of the people would be guaranteed.

He described the situation as worrisome and unfortunate, but admitted that the lives of the people are precious.

“As I speak, the Court premises is empty. Everyone has departed for fear of being harmed. You wouldn’t know when these boys are coming, and whether or not the threat letter actually came bandits is not important here, what is rather important is the safety of the people.

“We had earlier told the government to provide the Court with maximum security to be able to have smooth and hitch-free court proceedings, but not enough attention had been given to this noble request. We cannot risk our lives while carrying out our professional duty.

“Recall that a Customary Court Magistrate, Nnaemeka Ugboma, at Ejemekwuru Oguta LGA, was brutally killed in the court room while presiding a proceeding. Same way a female lawyer, Barr. O. C Duru, was gruesomely murder after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Owerri Nkworji Nkwerre LGA. We shall not treat this warning with levity.”

Meanwhile, fresh findings have revealed that the threat letter emanated from some politicians who rigged the 2023 national and state assembly elections in the state.

It was gathered that the politicians took the advantage of the insecurity situation in the state to instil fears in the minds of the judges presiding over the tribunals.

“Their intention is to scare both the petitioners, lawyers and the tribunal to stop hearing the petitions against them. But they didn’t know that if the situation continues, the tribunals can be taken to a neighbouring state or even Abuja for continuation”, a source said.

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