*Lawyers in court at the Rivers State Governorship Petition Tribunal…
A serving Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in Rivers State, Victor Onugbo, on Tuesday tendered a document before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, authenticating the electoral victory of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike at the March 9, 2019 election.
Onugbo, who serves at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Port Harcourt, appeared before the tribunal based on the court subpoena on the State Commissioner of Police.
Responding to questions from counsel to African Action Congress ( AAC), Henry Bello, ACP Onugbo told the Tribunal that the document he presented was the incident reports of all that occurred during election. He added that the report was sealed by the Rivers State Police Command.
Onugbo also told the court that the then commissioner of police, Usman Belel, signed the documents of the results sheets after the declaration of the winner of the March 9 election.
Also responding to questions from Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), counsel to Governor Wike, on whether it is a practice in the police that certified copies of the documents are kept in the custody of the command, Onugbo said all the documents are certified and kept in the custody of the Officer in Charge of Legal matters at the command.
Onugbo also told the court that he was an observer during the election. He dismissed evidence that police was indicted in the alleged electoral violence in the state.
Meanwhile, AAC has closed cross examination of its witnesses with the appearance of the ACP in court.
The Tribunal adjourned till Wednesday for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to present it’s witnesses.
However, speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, the AAC counsel, Henry Bello, noted that his client has closed its case with the cross examination of the police officer who tendered evidence documents before the Tribunal.
He said: “It is not the number of witnesses you call that is important but the materiality of the evidence given by the witnesses.
“I am an advocate for change of a lot of things concerning the conduct of election litigation in Nigeria. Most of the things we do in election are basically documentary.
“It is my considered opinion that AAC has, with these vital witnesses, demonstrated alot of things before the tribunal. We will await the decision of the tribunal on the points we have made before the tribunal.
“I had 1,650 witnesses, I donated some of them to the 1st petitioner and they were able to call 20 out of the 500 we gave to them”.
On his part, Woyike Livingstone, counsel to INEC, said “Today the court has heard evidence from the PW23 in the capacity of the Assistant Commissioner of Police who was subpoenaed to come and give evidence in this regard and he has given evidence to the effect that the report which he tendered as an exhibit which was marked as Exhibit X1 were reports authenticating the victory of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
“He has also given evidence to the effect that the report never in anyway indicted the security agencies or even INEC as an agency.
“And so today the 2nd Petitioner has closed their case and we optimistic by tomorrow when the tribunal reconvenes, INEC which is the commission which I represent will open their case for witnesses”.
Also speaking, Dike Udenna, one of the counsel representing the second respondent, Governor Nyesom Wike, noted that: “The 2nd Petitioner, AAC, a political party, they have closed their case today after calling a total of three witnesses, which has brought the total number of witnesses called by the petitioner to 23. So it is now for the 1st respondent (INEC) to open and conduct their own defence”.