Makurdi - The Chairman, National and State Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal in Benue, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu, has advised lawyers and petitioners to uphold the rule of law and ethics of the law profession.
Dipeolu gave the advice on Wednesday at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal in Makurdi.
She urged lawyers to advise their clients against trying to influence members of the panel or staff of the tribunal.
The chairman disclosed that in accordance with the constitution, members of the panel and staff of the tribunal were non-indigenes of Benue.
She warned lawyers and clients against influencing and championing smear campaign or peddling rumours against them.
Dipeolu further warned them to desist from any act that could distract the panel members from discharging their duties, adding that the tribunal had a limited time to do that.
She said that 25 petitions were before the panel which they had to dispose of within 180 days from the date of filing of the petitions.
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The chairman, therefore, assured lawyers and all parties in the petitions of their readiness to work hard and give the cases accelerated hearing.
She said that disposing of the cases depended more on the lawyers and not the tribunal, adding that sitting outside the official hours, Saturdays and public holidays should not be viewed as unusual.
She announced that the tribunal would proceed to pre-hearing sessions on Monday, May 18.
Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Sabastine Hom, declared his confidence in the panel, urging his colleagues to cooperate with them for speedy dispensation of justice.
The Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Makurdi branch, Mike Assoh, appreciated the enormous nature of the panel's assignment.
Assoh promised that members of the association would cooperate with them to ease the cumbersome nature of the job.
He also called on his colleagues to work within the tenet of the profession, warning them against ``putting banana peels’’ on the path of the panel.