ABUJA– The Court of Appeal, on Thursday, debunked the news that a member of the five-member panel that is handling petitions seeking to nullify the election of President Bola Tinubu, resigned.
A high ranking official of the court, who spoke to Vanguard, described the information as “fake news”, insisting that it was the handiwork of “evil rumour mongers.
The source, who pleaded not to be mentioned because he was not authorized to speak to the press, maintained that “no such thing happened.”
He said: “I was with some members of the panel yesterday and I can authoritatively tell you that there was nothing like that.
“In fact, we were shocked when our attention was drawn to the fake news. The true position is that parties in the petitions were given time to file and exchange their final written address. They are already doing that.
“Once the process is completed, the panel will communicate a date for the parties to appear in court to adopt their processes after which the petitions will be fixed for judgement.
“So, it is absurd for someone to sit in a corner of his room and concoct lies from the figment of his or her imagination.
“In fact, our attention was equally drawn to another fake news that a former Governor of Rivers State held a meeting with members of the court, outside the country.
“These are very laughable. How can the honourable justices on the panel travel abroad when they have enormous work pending on their desks?
“Please ignore the fake news. It is very unfortunate. Hopefully, before the end of the day, the Appeal Court will issue a formal statement on the matter.
“I believe that unless someone is made a scape goat, this fake news trend will continue,” the source added.
Meanwhile, in the said “fake news” that is gaining traction on social media, it was reported that a member of the presidential election petition court, Justice Boloukuoromo M. Ugo, had in “a shocking and unprecedented move”, resigned from the bench over pressure from the Executive arm of the government which he believed would destroy the country’s democracy.
According to the report, Justice Ugo, in a statement, maintained that siding with the government on the matter before the court, would be the “death of Nigeria’s democracy,” insisting that he could not in good conscience remain silent.
The report stated that Justice Ugo, in the said statement, disclosed that he was asked to “cripple the independence of the judiciary”, by ruling in favor of President Tinubu.
Besides, he was reported to have claimed that the panel was asked to suppress evidence and dismiss all the petitions against President Tinubu.
It will be recalled that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, had on Wednesday, equally debunked the news that he had a telephone conversation with President Tinubu with respect to petitions that are seeking to sack him from office.