By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew, Owerri
There is palpable tension in Imo state Magistrate Court Orlu road following the receipt of a ‘threat letter’ allegedly written by bandits warning that no tribunal cases be further entertained in the state.
Grapevine source at the court told our reporter that the warning from the bandits came on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, “the letter warned that no further tribunal cases should be entertained starting from today. But if the court wants to dare us, they will have themselves to blame.”
Meanwhile, information reaching our correspondent revealed that the Court premises, as at the time of filing this report, has been deserted and the gate under lock and keys.
Speaking with a lawyer who pleaded anonymity, he said the ongoing Election Petition Tribunal may be relocated to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for further hearing, where the safety of the people would be guaranteed.
He described the situation as worrisome and unfortunate, but admitted that the lives of the people are precious.
“As I speak, the Court premises is empty. Everyone has departed for fear of being harmed. You wouldn’t know when these boys are coming, and whether or not the threat letter actually came bandits is not important here, what is rather important is the safety of the people.
“We had earlier told the government to provide the Court with maximum security to be able to have smooth and hitch-free court proceedings, but not enough attention had been given to this noble request. We cannot risk our lives while carrying out our professional duty.
“Recall that a Customary Court Magistrate, Nnaemeka Ugboma, at Ejemekwuru Oguta LGA, was brutally killed in the court room while presiding a proceeding. Same way a female lawyer, Barr. O. C Duru, was gruesomely murder after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen at Owerri Nkworji Nkwerre LGA. We shall not treat this warning with levity.”