The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been ordered to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Hon. Joshua Audu Gana, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the February 25, 2023 National Assembly Election.
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal also set aside the election of the respondent and ordered a rerun in about 23 polling units in the three federal constituencies.
It will be recalled that Joshua Gana was declared the winner of the February 25 National Assembly Election to represent Edati, Lavun, and Mokwa Federal Constituency.
The Chief of Staff to the Governor of Niger State, Usman Abdullahi Gbatamangi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who contested along with Joshua Gana and lost in the election, had approached the tribunal, requesting that he be returned as the rightful winner of the election.
Gbatamagi claimed that the respondent lost in some of the polling units across the three LGAs of the federal constituency, as the elections in some polling units were characterised by irregularities and other electoral malpractices, and requested that the tribunal declare him the winner.
While reviewing all the submissions of both the counsel to both the petitioner and the respondent, the tribunal expunged some of the evidence and attached all the exhibits related to the conduct of the election in Edati, Lavun, and Mokwa Federal Constituency.
After reviewing all the evidence, exhibits, and witnesses that testified, Justice Mohammed Rashid submitted that the evidence tendered before the tribunal was convincing enough.
He further affirmed that the tribunal was convinced by the testimonies of the counsel to the petitioner and the exhibits, and that the evidence availed to the tribunal was proved beyond every reasonable doubt.
Justice Mohammed Rashid, in an unanimous decision, gave the order that the INEC should immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to the respondent without further delay.
The judge also ordered the conduct of a rerun in the 23 affected polling units within the next 90 days and equally set aside the election accordingly.
The police shot a twelve-year-old, Sani Danlami, as people scrambled over palliatives in Rijau, the headquarters of the Rijau Local Government Area of Niger State.
The police shot the victim on Sunday, during the distribution of palliative, when a skirmish engulfed one of the distribution units in the area.
It was gathered that the police shot sporadically into the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd; and in the process, a stray bullet hit Danlami, an internally displaced person, on his right hand while heading to the distribution side from his IDP camp.
Fielding questions from journalists, the Chairman of the Palliatives Distribution Committee in Charge of Rijau Local Government, Dr. Tukur Bello, stated that the police, in an effort to restore order, decided to shoot the victim, who was rushed to a nearby clinic for emergency medical attention before he was later referred to the IBB Specialist Hospital in Minna for further medical care.
Dr. Tukur, who is also the Commissioner for Secondary and Tertiary Health in Niger State, disclosed that the skirmish was the result of some miscreants who came into the distribution units and carted away some of the palliatives from the units, which resulted in shooting by the police.
According to Dr. Tukur Bello, in an effort by the police to control the mammoth crowd, they shot in the air, but unfortunately, the stray bullet hit the little boy, who is from an IDP camp, and the bullet hit him on his right hand.
" We rushed him to one of the clinics for emergency medical attention. On receiving the unfortunate information, the Governor, Umaru Mohammed Bago, directed that we do everything humanly possible to ensure that the boy was given full medical attention.That is why we are here with the boy, and we thank God the boy has been given the needed medical attention and is now recuperating," he told journalists.
According to Dr. Tukur, the divisional police officer in charge of Rijau Divisional Command has already taken the police officer who shot the boy into custody for further investigation.