By Aliyu Dangida
Some journalists on their duty at the Kano Court Governorship Election Petition Tribunal have been attacked by the police.
The tribunal will deliver its judgment in a petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to challenge the victory of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
Among those attacked journalists were Salim Umar Ibrahim of Daily Trust and BBC Hausa Reporter, Zahraddeen Lawal.
The Police who were on duty asked the journalists to move about 10 meters away from the Court premises and in the process, some of them pounced on them, alleging that they were taking pictures.
While some went after BBC reporter trying to seize his phone, others held Daily Trust reporter and forcefully collected his phone, damaging the screen.
Meanwhile, residents have expressed apprehension on the likely aftermath of the decision of the tribunal, with many saying they would rather remain indoor to avoid being caught up in any likely breakdown of law and order.
Daily Trust reports that the expectation on the judgment has generated frenzy in the state with both parties organising prayers to seek for God’s assistance for a favourable final outcome in the keenly contested gubernatorial race.
With allegations of bribery emanating from a panel of the elections tribunal in the state, the judgment expectation led to the sacking of a commissioner who threatened the tribunal judges with death.
While both parties have expressed optimism for victory at the tribunal, Daily Trust observed that there is palpable tension in the state among residents.
Ibrahim Musa, a father of three and a resident of Hotoro said, he cannot risk the tension in town by taking his children to school or going to the market.
“Remember the case of when the government came to power? The moment Abba was announced the winner in March, everything went upside down, there was destruction in the form of celebration. So can you imagine what will happen if the judgement goes against them especially with all the threats everywhere,” he queried.
Inuwa Yahaya, an operator of cold drinks store, said when INEC announced results in March, his shop was among the ones looted, so, he has preempt the situation now by removing all his goods from his shop.
“I have emptied my shop already to avert what happened to me the last time. My shop was looted in the name of celebration which affected me financially for some time. I am not going to the market and I have directed all my shop attendants to be at home tomorrow (Wednesday) pending the outcome of the Court,” he said.
But Habibu Iliya said he believes nothing unbecoming will follow the judgement. “It will come and pass without any hitches, I am optimistic that proactive measures have been taken. The security is there and fully aware of what is happening,” he said.
On his part, Hamisu Tijjani, called on the government to impose curfew so as to minimise the tension and also help the security reduce their workload.
But speaking with Daily Trust, the spokesman of the police in the state, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa said Kano residents have nothing to fear about the aftermath of the tribunal decision as the State Commissioner of Police, CP Muhammad Usaini Gumel in conjunction with other security apparatus has directed for deployment of personnel and equipment at strategic locations in the state metropolis to ensure security of lives and property and to forestall any attempt to cause disturbance or any breakdown of laws.
He said aside the deployment, the CP has reiterated that the ban on unlawful gatherings and public procession in the form of protest, celebration or whatever form or guise remains in full effect and that except for those with active roles with proper identification, access to the tribunal premises (Miller Road) will be cordoned off. As such, political supporters should stay away from these areas.
“Unguarded statements that can unnecessarily undermine the security arrangements and the sanctity of the judicial system should be guarded against.
“Finally, CP Gumel wishes to assure all peace loving residents of Kano that the police will not give room for any unscrupulous persons to jeopardize the security arrangements and as such residents are advised to go about their daily activities,” he said.
On its part, the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) Kano command warned political parties and their supporters to desist from wild celebration before, during and after the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal judgement slated to hold today.
The Sector Commander, Ibrahim Sallau made the call in a statement issued by the command’s Public Relations Officer, SRC Abdullahi Labaran.
He said, “Supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) to remain calm and resist the temptation of wild celebrations during and after tribunal judgement especially with vehicles or causing any form of obstruction on the roads.
“Wild celebrations that Will cause breach of traffic rules and regulations which may result in obstruction of the highways and road traffic crashes will not be allowed and perpetrators will be visited with the full wrath of the law.”
Culled from Daily Trust