From Jude Owuamanam, Jos
Panic has gripped Jos and Bukuru metropolis in Plateau State over alleged plans by youths to raze the Court of Appeal building in protest against the judgments of the court, which sacked all the National Assembly members elected under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They have also resolved to hold what they described as ‘Mother of all protest’ against judgments today.
In sweeping judgments, the appellate court upheld the decisions of the Mohammed Tukur-led National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Jos, which sacked Napoleon Bali and Simon Mwadkon representing Plateau South and North senatorial zones, respectively; Dachung Musa Bagos, member, representing Jos South/Jos East; Peter Ibrahim Gyendeng, Barkin Ladi/Riyom; Isaac Kyale Kwallu, Mikang/Qua’an Pan/Shendam; and Musa Agah Avia, Jos North/Bassa federal constituencies.
The court had said the lawmakers were sacked because PDP did not obey the judgment of the court, which asked them to go and conduct another primary to constitute a proper state executive council.
The court mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue certificates of return to candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party, who came second in the election. There has been uproar over the judgments.
The state is also anxiously awaiting the decision of the appellate court on the appeal lodged by the candidate of the APC in the March 18 governorship election, Yilwatda Nentawe, against the ruling of the governorship election petitions tribunal, which upheld the election of Caleb Mutfwang of the PDP.
On Wednesday, the police had a running battle with youths who blocked the Abuja-Jos Road, at the Old Airport Road and Mararaban Jama’a Junction, to protest the judgments, saying PDP did not receive justice.
Youths under the aegis of PDP National Youth Movement, in a banner posted in strategic places in Jos and Bukuru, urged all youths in the state to come out en masse for the protest.
But the police has alleged the youths were planning mayhem by burning down the Court of Appeal building and warned.
The Commissioner of Police, Okoro Alawari, in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Alfred Alabo, said he had “observed with dismay the way and manner in which some aimless group of persons clustered and unlawfully blocked the public highway around Old Airport Junction, Mararaban Jama’a and even attempted to set ablaze the Court of Appeal structure, Jos in the name of protest against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, in respect of the senatorial/House of Representatives that was delivered, yesterday.
“In order to maintain peace, law and order in the state, the CP has warned individuals or group of persons protesting under any guise, whose reaction could truncate the peace currently being enjoyed in the state, to desist from such actions or else, the police command will not hesitate to take decisive action against the perpetrators in accordance with the extant laws.
The CP, therefore, warned parents, traditional/religious leaders, to warn their wards and subjects, to steer clear from such unlawful protests to avoid being apprehended by the law enforcement agencies.
Alawari further advised the public to maintain peace and go about their lawful businesses.