The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday forced an abrupt adjournment of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja after it claimed that witnesses slated to testify were attacked on their way from Zamfara.
The distance from Zamfara to Abuja by road is 525.6km and an average road trip though the Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria Express Way takes 7 h 51 min.
The witnesses who were slated to give their testimony from 1pm but one of PDP lawyers make the controversial claim just when the tribunal was about to go on a routine break.
Chris Uche (SAN) informed the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba that the witnesses were those they prepared for the second half of Friday’s proceedings.
He said, “I am not sure if the next set of witnesses would be available.
“We got information that they were waylaid by armed men while on their way from Zamfara State to Abuja.”
The lead counsel for the petitioners, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), who walked into the courtroom while Uche was addressing the bench, also corroborated the claim.
He said, “I was the one that was called on the phone. I kept having the repeated calls and had to go out to answer.
“I was told that while the witnesses were on their way from Zamfara State, they were attacked by armed men.
“Some of them jumped into the bush and some of them were gravely injured.
“Up till now, they are still looking for some of them in the bush.”
He, therefore, noted that there would be no need for the sitting to resume at the end of the one-hour break and requested that the matter be adjourned till Monday.
PDP lawyers however did not reveal the number of persons involved in the incident and the exact location of the attack.
They also did not explain why their witness were not in Abuja early enough for a testimony slated for the early part of Friday afternoon
But analysts believe that it may be a move by the petitioners to buy more time to school the Zamfara witnesses after the shoddy performances of previous witnesses who contradicted statements made on oath.