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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nigerians abroad lobby US Congress, EU help with past election suits

(By Iheanacho Nwosu – ABUJA)

Coming on the heels of allegation of bribery in the Nigerian judiciary, the U.S Congress and the European Community (EC) are currently under pressure by Nigerian lobbyists abroad to prevail on the Federal Government to order a review of some past judgments by election petitions tribunals and courts. 

A source revealed that some Nigerians in the US and Canada are mounting pressure on the US Congress to pass a resolution asking the Nigerian government to look at judgments of election cases involving suspect politicians and judges.

The petitioners have already lobbied some committees of the US Congress on the need to use the window created by the investigation of corruption in the judiciary to open such cases to initiate a review of the cases.

The groups are said to have secured support of two powerful committees of the US Congress, which have seen the necessity for such a review.

According to our source, the lobbyists had also reached out to the US Under Secretary for African Affairs with signed petitions, pressing for an inquest into past judicial decision, especially those affecting election petitions.

Though it was not disclosed how the US Under Secretary for African Affairs and the Congress Committees intend to approach the matter, sources revealed that the petitions had been received and with firm promises that they would be acted upon.

Our source said the network of Nigerians in the abroad lobbying for massive purge of the judiciary also extends to Brussels, where a petition had also been handed to the European Union.

“There is a growing lobby by diasporan Nigerians, mostly from America and Canada, who are working to make sure that ongoing investigation of corruption in the judiciary leads to a review of past judgements,” said a credible source in Canada.

“They want past cases, especially those that had to do with election petitions and how people got elected into offices, reviewed.

“The reason for flooding the US Congress and European Union with petitions is because we want a review of the fraudulent judgements by our election petitions tribunal and appeal court. Nigerians have seen several instances where results of elections that were clearly rigged by politicians were upheld by tribunals and the appeal court. 

“We thank God that this government has summoned the courage to look at happenings in the judiciary. We want it to be total. We want a review of judgements by tribunals in different states and rulings by appeal courts. 

“Such steps had been taken by several countries. It will not be a strange move if it is done in Nigeria. If our judiciary is sanitised so our country will begin to witness development on all fronts.”

Speaking in a telephone chat from North America, another source, who confirmed that the lobbying groups have also sent the petition to the EU, said that they are receiving positive responses.

The development may particularly interest President Muhammad Buhari, who had lamented his frustrations with the judiciary, especially as it involved his election petitions in the courts in the past.

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