Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decried alleged plot to remove the duly elected Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang, through alleged judicial manipulations.
HURIWA cautioned against what it perceived as an anti-democratic coup orchestrated by the Court of Appeal.
National coordinator of the rights group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, recalled previous instances where the Court of Appeal purportedly overturned victories of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), raising concerns about a potential coordinated effort to manipulate the judicial system.
Onwubiiko, specifically pointed to cases such as the Plateau North Senatorial District, where Sen. Simon Mwadkwon of the PDP emerged victorious. However, the Court of Appeal allegedly annulled the election and ordered a rerun among all parties. Similar scenarios unfolded in the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency and the Shendam/Quaan-Pan/Mikang Federal Constituency, where PDP candidates’ victories were purportedly nullified in favor of the APC.
He said: “In the case of Plateau North Senatorial District won by Sen. Simon Mwadkwon of the PDP and the APC candidate coming in third, the Panel, in its judgment in Court of Appeal No. CA/J/EP/PL/SEN/12/2023 delivered on Sunday, October 20, 2023, curiously annulled the PDP’s victory and ordered INEC to conduct a rerun election among all the parties.
“In the case of Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency won by Hon. Musa Agar of the PDP and where the APC candidate also came in third, the Panel, in its judgment in Court of Appeal No. CA/J/EP/PL/HR/14/2023 delivered on Friday, October 14, 2023, annulled the victory of the PDP and ordered a rerun excluding the PDP.
“In the third Appeal Case of Shendam/Quaan-Pan/Mikang Federal Constituency, won by Hon. Isaac Kwallu of the PDP with John Dafwan of the APC as runner-up, the Appeal Court Justices in Court of Appeal No. CA/J/EP/PL/HR/18/2023 annulled the victory of the PDP candidate, declared the APC candidate as the outright winner, and ordered that the Certificate of Return issued to the victorious PDP candidate be withdrawn and a fresh Certificate of Return issued to the APC candidate,” HURIWA added.
Expressing deep concern, HURIWA warned against what appears to be a coordinated effort by the Court of Appeal to issue contradictory judgments, favouring the APC at the expense of the PDP.
The rights group called on all stakeholders, including the judiciary, to uphold the principles of democracy and ensure that the will of the people prevails. HURIWA further urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and resist any attempts to subvert the democratic process.
HURIWA also called for an immediate investigation into the conduct of the Court of Appeal, presided over by Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as President, emphasising the need for transparency and accountability to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.
“As Plateau State stands at a critical juncture, HURIWA urged citizens to remain peaceful, uphold the rule of law, and defend the principles of democracy in the face of potential threat to the democratic fabric of the nation,” the group added.