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Election Tribunal: Court Of Appeal reacts to Justice Ugoh ‘resignation’

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The Court of Appeal has refuted allegations making the rounds on social media that a member of the Election Petition Tribunal handling the suit seeking to nullify the election of President Bola Tinubu has resigned.

News making the rounds on social media claimed that Justice Boloukuoromo Ugoh had resigned, citing “demands to kneecap democracy” by siding with President Bola Tinubu in the tribunal’s decision.

The post stated, “In a shocking and unprecedented move, Nigerian Justice Boloukuoromo M. Ugo has resigned from the bench, citing demands from the executive branch that he believes would destroy the country’s democracy.

“In a statement, Justice Ugo said that siding with the government on this matter would be the ‘death of Nigeria’s democracy’, and that he could not in good conscience remain silent. His resignation has sent shockwaves through the country and raised serious questions about the state of Nigeria’s democratic institutions. According to Justice Ugo’s statement, he was asked to ‘cripple the independence of the judiciary’ by ruling in favor of a certain political candidate, whom he did not name but is widely believed to be Bola Tinubu.”

However, refuting the claims, Bukola Gaar, head of media and personal assistant to the President, and the Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed the reports and described them as fake news.

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Though Justice Ugoh has not denied or confirmed the statement attributed to him, an appeal court official stated that the allegation is fake and should be jettisoned.

Another senior court official called the information “fake news,” claiming that it was the work of “evil rumor mongers.”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said, “No such thing happened.”

“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 to the petitions were given time to file and exchange their final written addresses. They are already doing that.

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“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 judgment.

“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 story that a former Governor of Rivers State held a meeting with members of the court outside the country,” he said.

Describing the claims as laughable, he stated that this fake news will keep spreading in the country unless someone is made a scapegoat.

“These are very laughable. How can the honorable 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.”

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“I believe that unless someone is made a scapegoat, this fake news trend will continue,” the source added.

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