A’Court judgment: One killed, others injured as protests spread in Kano

• NNPP alleges police brutality, petitions ECOWAS, US, UK, EU

There is no letup in the political turmoil in Kano State as one person has been reportedly shot dead during protest over an Appeal Court verdict that sacked Governor Abba Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).

The victim identified as Salisu Rabiu was allegedly shot by policemen dispersing protesters.

NNPP had raised the alarm over errors in the verdict of the Appeal Court, claiming the judgment was in Favour of Governor Yusuf, but doctored by All Progressives Congress (APC).

There has been confusion and widespread condemnation of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment of Friday, November 17 by the appellate court, which sacked Governor Yusuf in Favour of the APC’s Yusuf Gawuna on the grounds of not being a member of the party.

The Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Umar Mohammed Bangari, in a statement, admitted clerical errors in the document, while insisting the court’s judgment remained valid.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has promised to investigate the issues surrounding the CTC of the judgment. Leader of the delegation and acting national chairman disclosed that petitions have been received, and the council would treat them according to the rules.

“The petitions that have been written would not be taken immediately; they would have to go through the preliminary complaint assessment. Those people would look at it, then send to the plenary. The plenary would look at it and set up a committee to look into it, after which the judge and the petitioner would come with their lawyers,” he said.

The senior official said although counsel to Governor Yusuf had opted to make the CTC part of the subjects of the appeal before the Supreme Court, that would not prevent the NJC’s investigation.

Regardless, protests have continued in the state for the fourth consecutive day since the appellate court’s judgment.

Again, yesterday, protesters gathered in some locations across the state with placards bearing various inscriptions like ‘Our mandate must be restored, Kano voted for Abba, and Injustice exposed in CTC’, amongst others.

Wearing color red popular among the Kwankwasiyya, a socio-religious movement with NNPP 2023 presidential candidate and former Kano governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, as the group’s leader, the protesters chanted solidarity songs to register their displeasure.

Notwithstanding the presence of policemen at various entrances of the state, the protesters blocked the road linking Katsina State and prevented commuters from travelling.

In a statement, the police spokesman in the state, Abdullahi Kiyawa, confirmed the killing of a protesters in Fagge Local Government Area when a “police inspector who did not receive any command from the existing chain of command fired a shot and unfortunately wounded two persons with one other person died while receiving treatment at the hospital.

“Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Gumel, directed the Area Commander Dala, Nuhu Digi, to fish out the erring police inspector with a view to constituting a board of inquiry into the cause of the incident of which the outcome will be communicated to the public.

“Few hours later, the police inspector has since been arrested and now in custody,” the statement partly read.

Unrelenting, the NNPP has escalated its protest to the nation’s capital, Abuja where it sought the interventions of the United States, European Union (EU) the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) over what they described as manipulations of electoral verdict to overturn the victory of Governor Yusuf.

The acting National Chairman of the NNPP, Abba Kawu Ali, who led the team claimed the lower court compromised in their judgment with the CTC of the Appeal Court verdict indicating that Governor Yusuf validly won.

He added that the NNPP protest in the embassies was to bring the issue to the notice of all well-meaning nations and well-meaning democratic organizations.

“If at the point of delivering the judgment, there was a pronouncement that our Appeal failed but the CTC of the same judgment in its conclusive findings actually resolved all the issues in our Favour, and even awarded costs in our Favour against the APC, this definitely is a riddle.”

Speaking further,  he told the EU that, “We need you to bring your diplomacy, your soft power to play over the Nigerian government, the Nigerian presidency, so that the judiciary is left to do its work. 

 “We don’t need any favors. We want justice. We want justice for the people of Kano. And we say this because Kano is one of the most volatile states in this country”.

Ali, who warned of dangers of electoral injustice, noted that, “It happened in 2019. And it’s happening again. It’s some form of deja vu. We have done our best to tell the people of Kano to remain calm.”

He appealed to the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, to live up to its responsibility.

He contended that in 2019, the embattled Yusuf won the governorship election, but the victory was snatched by the APC. 

“From the look of things, there are clandestine moves to truncate the will of the vast majority of the people of Kano State, with respect to Governor Yusuf, whom they freely and willingly elected on March 18, 2023.

Ali also called on Vice President Kashim Shettima, Northern Governors’ Forum, Northern Senators’ Forum, Northern House of Representatives’ Forum, Northern Conference of Speakers, Northern Elders’ Forum, and Northern Christian Association, to intervene to forestall the looming unrest in Kano State.

The ECOWAS Director of Administration and General Services, Seydou Bangoura, who received the protesters at the ECOWAS headquarters said the issue would be looked into.  

“One of the tenets of democracy is good governance. I have received your message, and it is going straight to our management. I assure you of justice in this matter.” 

•NNPP brutality 

Also, the NNPP condemned the killing one of its supporters allegedly shot during a peaceful protest.

A statement by Ali, said: “The NNPP has always asked the citizens to do their protest in a peaceful manner, and the protest around Kurna, where Salisu Player was shot, though spontaneous, was not different.

“It would appear that men of the Nigeria Police are ill-trained for handling even peaceful protests as we regret the recorded death which is painful and unfortunate.

“We commiserate with friends and family of the deceased as we urge all the Kano people to remain calm and restrained from acting outside the rule of law.”

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