A Nigerian citizen, Mr Oseyili Anenih, has sued a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon Alhassan Ado Garba (Doguwa), for threatening violence against the electorate on Election Day.
Anenih, in a suit, filed by his counsel, Victor Opatola, Esq of Legatify Attorneys and Solicitors, is making a direct criminal complaint against Hon Garba, which is brought pursuant to Sections 93(1) and 93 (2)(a) of the Electoral Act 2022; Sections 88(1), 89(3), 109(a), 110(c), 115 (11)(b) and 119 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
In the processes filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja by Anenih (complainant), he averred that “this direct criminal complaint is lodged against the defendant, Alhassan Ado Garba, whose principal place of work and address is at the National Assembly, Three Arms Zone 900103, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, as follows:
“On or about 5th day of December 2022, in Kano State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, the defendant, Alhassan Ado Garba (Doguwa) made and uttered the following statement in Hausa language to the hearing of the public and electorate: “Ranar zabe, Wallahi, mutum ko ya zabe APC ne, ko yaci ubanka. A Doguwa, ko ka zabe APC, ko ka ci ubanka! Inna pada, ku ansa min! A Doguwa, kode ka zabe APC, ko …ka ci ubanka!”
That the said utterances of the defendant directly translate in English language to mean: ‘On the day of election, wallahi, a person should either vote for APC or you will be dealt with. The day of election you either vote for APC, or you will be dealt with. When I say it, you should answer me: in Dogowa, either you vote for APC, or you will be dealt with.’
“That the said utterances directly violate the provision of section 93(1) of the Electoral Act 2022; punishable under section 93(2)(b) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
The complainant paticularised the complaint/offence as follows: “That the complainant is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a duly registered voter who is interested in the free, fair election and non-intimidation or threatening of voters. A copy of his voter’s card will be relied upon to prove this case at trial.
“That the complainant has consequently brought this Direct Criminal complaint against the Defendant.
That the Defendant is Alhassan Ado Garba, a House of Representatives member, representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State.
That the defendant while engaging in political campaigning and publicly addressing citizens and voters on or about the 5th day of December 2022 made the following statement in Kano State while addressing the general public and the electorate: ‘Ranar zabe, Wallahi, mutum ko ya zabe APC ne, ko yaci ubansa. A Doguwa, ko ka zabe APC, ko ka ci ubanka! Inna pada, ku ansa min! A Doguwa, kode ka zabe APC, ko …ka ci ubanka!’ thereby committing an offence contrary to the provisions of section 93(1) of the Electoral Act 2022; punishable under section 93(2)(b) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
That the said statement directly translates in English Language to mean: ‘On the day of election, wallahi, a person should either vote for APC or you will be dealt with. On the day of election, you either vote for APC, or you will be dealt with. When I say it, you should answer me: in Dogowa, either you vote for APC, or you will be dealt with.
“That the said video comment of the defendant will be relied upon to prove this case at trial.
“That this statement is capable of causing threat, fear of use of force or threat in the minds of ordinary Nigerian electorate
That the statement of the defendant has caused fear in the mind of the complainant.
That the statement of the defendant is a direct effort at compelling voters to support or refrain from supporting a political party.
“That this comment has gone viral on major online platforms in Nigeria.
“That the defendant has also confirmed making such statement in his recent interview on National Television. This interview will be relied upon to prove this case.
“That the utterance of such statement is against the provisions of Section 93 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and punishable under Section 93 (2)(b) of the same Electoral Act.
“That the said statement made by the defendant was reported by major national dailies. A newspaper report of the statement of the defendant will be relied upon at trial.
“That the complainant herein has now filed a direct criminal complaint against the defendant in line with his resolve towards the free, fair election and non-intimidation or threatening of voters in the coming 2023 general elections.
“That the society is crying for justice in this matter and only an intervention by the Court can it be shown that there are no sacred cows or individuals bigger than the Law.
“That it will be in the interest of justice to bring the defendant to answer to this complaint;
“That this court has the statutory and inherent powers to direct that the accused person be brought to answer to this complaint; and
“That this complaint is made in good faith and in the interest of justice.”
The complainant deposed to a verifying affidavit in support of his complaint.