There was a mild drama in court on Thursday as chairman of Abia State local government electoral tribunal for December 18th, 2020, Magistrate Nnaemeka Orji resigned.
He cited a serious threat to his life and that of his family members from unknown persons as his reason for resignation.At the sitting which took place in Umuahia, the magistrate stated that he had received several threats to drop a case or face the music from people said to be cultists.
He further highlighted that the unknown persons claimed to be monitoring him and will take all it costs to eliminate him if he ventures to continue as the chairman of the panel, ABN TV reports.
Magistrate Orji told the court after the lawyers announced appearance that his life, that of his family and the panel members were in danger following the latest text message he received, on 16th November, 2021 warning them to hands-off from the case. He, therefore, adjourned the case sine die.
Reacting to the development, one of the lawyers to APC candidates that filed the suit, challenging the 18th December, 2020 local government election conducted by Abia state independent electoral commission, ABSIEC, Barrister Perfect Okorie said he was not surprised to witness the drama that took place in the court.
Barrister Okorie who insisted that the team would write to Abia state Chief Judge as suggested by the panel chairman said they will pursue the case to conclusion.
Barrister Perfect Okorie said they came for Ohafia’s judgement fixed for today, 18th November 2021 and to adopt final addresses for Bende and Umunneochi, before the chairman of the panel ordered for the paper bearing the threats to be shared”.
Okorie stated that there was also a twist when the respondents tried to challenge the jurisdiction of the panel through a motion which later did not come up, promised that he would have stood on the strength of their evidence to ask for the motion to be struck out.
Okorie “disclosed that the magistrate just condemned the purported threat, did not allow them to contribute, as well went ahead to read his judgement. Orji described what happened in the court as a little setback, but reiterated that they will forge ahead.