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Election Petitions: Bulkachuwa Cancels Annual Vacation For Justices Of Appeal Court

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The President of the Court of Appeals, Judge Zainab Bulkachuwa, canceled the annual vacation for judges of the Court of Appeals in 2019, according to a statement from the Media Officer of the Court of Appeals.

The head of the press, Saadatu Kachalla, quoted “the enormous requests facing the court” as the reason for the cancellation.

“As 2019 was an election year, it became obvious that we have to give up our annual vacation to allow us to receive and determine all appeals that arise from the various Electoral Petitions Courts transmitted to the Court,” Bulkachuwa said, citing the statement.

In a two-page circular signed and transmitted to all judges on July 2, 2019, Judge Bulkachuwa noted that since these appeals were limited in time and would arise within the court holiday period from July to October, Therefore, there is a need to be heard and determined within that period.

To enable the Court to meet these objectives, the President of the Court of Appeals gave explicit instructions to the Presiding Magistrates of the different Divisions to prepare a toaster in consultation with the President to allow Judges with medical appointments or other family problems.

Urgently travel for no more than 15 days within the period, adding that the toaster to be drawn should be arranged in such a way that at any given time there is a panel of three (3) members on the ground in each division to hear and determine appeals.

He stated that in Divisions with three (3) Judges, only one (1) Judge might travel at a time and the office of the President of the Court of Appeal must be notified immediately to form a panel in the absence of that Judge in case of what needs to emerge.

According to Judge Bulkachuwa, appeals arising from the National and State Assemblies would be heard by a local panel of three (3) members, except when it is controversial, then the President will set up and send another group to listen to it.

In the appeals of the Interior, Bulkachuwa revealed that he would be heard by a panel of five (5) Members to be adopted by the President.

Therefore, he instructed the presiding judges to notify him as soon as appeals of the governor’s election were presented to ensure his prompt determination.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,769 appeals and 3,517 motions were determined by the Court of Appeals between January and April 2019.

This is found in the case summary in the Divisions of the Court of Appeals, prepared by the Head of the Legal Services Unit and Ms. Adaeze Oby Aziwe, and made available to the Court Media Officer.

In the document, a total of 2,397 appeals and 5,120 motions were submitted during the period under review.

Similarly, the reports leaked from the DCR office, the Court of Appeal, the Electoral Petitions Court, Ms. Rabi Abdulazeez Yakubu, said that a total of 800 petitions were submitted until June 17, 2019.

A breakdown of this figure shows that the House of Representatives of the State registered the highest number of 415, the Senate 105, the House of Representatives 214, the Interior 62 and the four presidential petitions.

According to the information sheets emanating from the 77 Electoral Petitions Courts established by the President of the Court of Appeals on April 23, 2019, 65 petitions were rejected or eliminated, while 735 requests are pending.