Justice Muazu Pindiga, the former chairman of the Rivers state governorship petitions tribunal who was removed under questionable circumstances has spoken up about the ordeal he went through just before he was dismissed as judge of the tribunal.
According to Premium Times News, Pindiga availed that two weeks before he was dismissed, he was threatened.He also revealed that soon after, there was an attempt to bribe him and later on he was sacked.
He said: “Two weeks before I was removed as chairman of the Tribunal, I got a call from an unknown number, asking for an appointment for us to meet in Kaduna. And I asked, what for?
“And the caller said, it’s on a need to know basis. That the details of the meeting would be made known to me in Kaduna. And I declined.
“The next was a call from the DSS, saying they were all expecting me at meeting in Kaduna. And demanded why I turned down the appointment. And I said, I’m a chairman of a Tribunal, and do not have the luxury to attend meetings. Especially one without an agenda.
“And the caller from DSS said there was a petition of fraud against me, in a case I handled in Kaduna in 2009. And I asked him to charge me accordingly, in line with the extant laws.
“I was called again by another caller; who apologised to me, on behalf of the DSS. And offered to compensate me for the harassment I received from the DSS, and rescheduled another meeting, in Kaduna. And I declined again.
“And the next was a letter removing me as the Chairman of the Rivers State governorship petitions tribunal, and replacing me with Justice Ambrosa. As is the practice, I offered to brief Justice Ambrosa, on the proceedings so far, but he said that won’t be necessary that he has been following the case.
“Now, on the judgement delivered by Justice Ambrosa; it will be unethical and unprofessional to denigrate, or condemn the judgement of a contemporary colleague.
“However, the Supreme Court has said, that for an election to be annulled, the petitioner has to prove that elections didn’t hold at the polling units, where the winner was returned elected. And I’m not sure that the Ambrosa’s judgement arrived through that route,” he reportedly narrated in the Facebook post.
Editor’s Note: Our reporter first saw this report on Elombah.com. The report referenced ‘Premium Times’ as the source. The Elombah reporter referred him to the Facebook page of the ‘Premium Times News’, which we have since discovered does not belong to Premium Times, the online newspaper. It identifies as a political organisation on Facebook. The administrator of the Premium Times News on Facebook insists that the contents of this report are true. Our legal counsel tells us that the code of conduct for judges does not permit them to grant press interviews on their judgements and if Justice Pindiga made these remarks, he most likely did not intend it for public consumption. We have considered pulling down this story in light of these findings, but decided against it because it has been widely shared and our readers would get an error message if they attempted to reference this report, an error message that would not explain the circumstances behind the decision to remove the story from our website. We would continue to investigate this story and come back with updates. Thank you for your understanding.