Delta State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro, and tribunal judges have been placed under close watch by security forces at the behest of the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC).
The decision comes on the heels of allegations that Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa provided a N3 billion bribe to the the tribunal judges charged with hearing petitions challenging the results of the recent gubernatorial elections.
It will be recalled that on October 25th SaharaReporters exclusively provided information detailing Governor Okowa’s infiltration of the tribunal judges.
The Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Peter Mrakpo, has also been placed under close surveillance. Mr. Mrakpo allegedly wrote the controversial judgement which dismissed the petitions of the gubernatorial candidates of the Labour Party and the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging Governor Okowa’s victory in the April 11th election.
On October 26th the Election Tribunal dismissed both of these petitions citing a lack of merit and the inability of the petitioners to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt.
An anonymous source within the State Police Command informed SaharaReporters that after the accusations of Governor Okowa’s bribe broke, the police and State security services focused all of their attentions on the tribunal judges, the State Chief Judge, and Mr. Mrakpo.
A confidential source within the Ministry of Justice explained that, while rumors of the bribe were rife throughout the State, it was not until SaharaReporters broke the story that the NJC was embarrassed enough to place those accused of taking the bribe under surveillance.