Hoodlums numbering over thirty on Wednesday distrupted proceedings into the hearing over a suit into the disputed ward,local government and State congresses of the All Progressive Congress (APC) at the Bayelsa State High Court.
An official of the court, the claimant, Alex Blackson and his brother, Osom Blackson were injured during the stampede and violence inside the court. The presiding Judge, Justice Nayai Aganaba was stoned with plastic bottles by the hoodlums but was taken to safety by his police orderly.
Leadership gathered that most of the lawyers in Court were also chased out, while those that came with the claimant were brutalised.
Leadership gathered that the hoodlums may have been provoked by the allege insistence of the Presiding Judge, Justice Aganaba to hear the suit filed by Alex Blackson seeking the order of the court to set aside the disputed congresses of the APC held last year.
It was also gathered that there was heavy sporadic shooting at the State Secetariat of the APC following the attempts by armed Policemen to arrest some chieftains of the party over allege involvement in the court invasion. Two persons were reportedly arrested.
But the Chairman of APC in the state, Dr Dennis Otiotio- Odoni distanced members of APC from the fracas at the Court, alleging that those involved were suspected PDP supporters who were in the Courtroom and hanging around the premises.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the Judiciary to adjudicate in matters concerning the party and urged the Police to fish out those behind the invasion of the Court,”APC has nothing to do with the invasion of the Court. We are a law abiding party and we have faith in the Judiciary over cases before it. We condemned the act in its entirety and called on the Police to fish those behind it out”
Counsel to the claimant, Barr. P.J. Fawei ,who confirmed the incident described the invasion as pathetic and show of disrespect to the santity of the court,” it was shocking to me. I had noticed that on resumption of Court proceedings at about 3pm, there were unusual large numbers of people around the court premises. When they attacked, they stabbed a court staff in the hand and beat up the claimant and his brother.”
A Chieftain of the Party and brother to the claimant, Osom Blackson, told newsmen that those that tore his shirt and dealt him several blows were APC members and known to him, ” they tore my shirt and he escaped from the court with singlet and trouser,” when I saw the boys,I never knew the plan was to distrupt the court and attack us.”
Another Chieftain of the Party, Hon. Sunday Frank Oputu, condemn the attack and describing it as barbaric and an open show of disrespect to the symbol of the law.
Frank-Oputu argued that the APC National Leadership should impose sanctions against the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources,Chief Tipre Sylva over allege complicity in the attack,” the party should sanction Sylva for encouraging the hoodlums to attack the court and defile the temple of Justice.”