Reuben Abati, a co-host of Arise TV’s The Morning Show, has accused supporters of Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate for the 2023 presidential election, of setting a section of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on fire.
He made this statement in a live 18-second video during the show, according to him, Peter Obi supporters, who are known for advocating for “all eyes on the judiciary”, have moved from “all eyes on the judiciary” to “attack on the Supreme Court. His statement has however generated lots of negative reactions towards him.
Ejes Gist Newspaper has previously reported that the Supreme Court was on fire on Monday, September 25, 2023. The fire reportedly started from the roof of the building and spread to other parts. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but some eyewitnesses claimed that they saw some people throwing petrol bombs at the building.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the appeal of Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party candidate, against Bola Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election. Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress candidate, was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after a controversial election that was marred by allegations of rigging, violence and intimidation.
Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have challenged Tinubu’s victory at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, but both courts dismissed their petitions for lack of merit. They have appealed to the Supreme Court, hoping to overturn Tinubu’s victory and claim the presidency.
However, with the fire incident at the Supreme Court, it is unclear if and when the appeal will be heard. Some political analysts have suggested that the fire was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the judicial process and prevent Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar from getting justice. Others have argued that the fire was an accident and that it should not affect the hearing of the appeal.
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“We’ve moved from all eyes on the Judiciary to attack on the Supreme Court.” —Reuben Abati pic.twitter.com/aYHRzsX3Co
— Jaypee (@JaypeeGeneral) September 25, 2023
Reuben Abati’s accusation against Peter Obi supporters has added more fuel to the already tense political situation in Nigeria. Many Nigerians have condemned his statement as baseless and irresponsible, while others have supported his claim as plausible and courageous. Some have called for his arrest and prosecution for spreading false information and inciting violence, while others have defended his right to freedom of expression and opinion.
The Nigerian government has not yet issued any official statement on the fire incident or Reuben Abati’s accusation. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, has also not commented on the matter. The police and fire service are still investigating the cause and extent of the fire.