In a collective show of concern and solidarity, over 400 legal practitioners coming from diverse regions across Nigeria convened to voice their concerns over the safety of Yetunde Olubunmi Shaibu (Barrister), Convener of the United Front for Democracy (UFD).
The lawyers, under the banner of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy, expressed profound worries about unrelenting threats reportedly targeting Shaibu, allegedly originating from factions aligned with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka.
Their concerns come from revelations made by the UFD, which allege secret attempts by the SDP and its candidate to file a petition against the November 11 election outcome through dubious means, potentially backdating it to circumvent the stipulations of the Electoral Act.
During an emergency press conference held in Abuja, on Friday, 20 representatives from various legal zones underscored the suspicious nature of recent events.
Speaking on behalf of the gathering, Ambrose Ajoyo Omoleaupen, Esq emphasised the connection between the reported attack on the Tribunal Secretary and subsequent threats directed at Shaibu.
He expressed deep-seated concerns, highlighting that these threats emerged in the wake of UFD’s whistleblowing activities.
“In the wake of raising concerns and engaging in whistleblowing activities, our colleague, Barrister Yetunde Olubunmi Shaibu, has been subjected to series of threats. These threats are not just alarming but also raise serious concerns about the safety and protection of legal professionals engaged in democratic processes,” remarked Omoleaupen.
The lawyers called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, security chiefs, and relevant authorities to ensure the safety and protection of their colleague.
They stressed that such threats, especially amid the prevailing political unrest and lawlessness exhibited by certain politicians, should not be taken lightly.
“We urge authorities to leave no stone unturned in investigating these threats against our colleague. It is imperative to ensure the safety of those engaged in safeguarding democratic principles,” urged Omoleaupen.
Furthermore, the legal fraternity raised questions regarding the filing process, pointing out glaring inconsistencies in the timeline and the absence of documented proof regarding the alleged petition submissions by the SDP.
They highlighted the need for transparency in the electoral process and called for a thorough investigation by relevant security agencies.
“We find it extremely concerning that, despite serious allegations raised against the SDP, there has been no public display of documented evidence confirming the submission of any petition within the constitutionally stipulated timeline.
“This lack of transparency raises serious doubts about the legitimacy of the petition filing process,” said Omoleaupen.
The lawyers restated their dedication to supporting democratic values and urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the alleged threats and irregularities in the election petition process