A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has transferred the case filed by the Nigeria Police Force against 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to the Port Harcourt division of the court.
The INEC officials are being tried by the police for allegedly taking bribes during the national and state assembly rerun elections in Rivers State.
In transferring the case, Justice John Tsoho said the argument of the police that the insecurity in Rivers State will affect the trial was not tenable.
He added that there was no evidence placed before the court to how pervasive insecurity in Rivers State.
Justice Tsoho also said that the video clips and photographs tendered by the police were incidences that happened before the December 10th rerun elections.
The judge also said in his ruling that the responsibility of providing security in any part of the country rests on the security operatives and not the court.
He said, “I haven’t found out that Rivers State has become ungovernable based on the alleged security situation in the state.
“So, based on Section 22 of the Federal High Court Act, the case has been transferred to the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court.
“Also, in line with Section 93 Subsection 1 and 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, which states that the trial of a case should take place where the offence was committed, I hereby transfer the case.”
Lawyers for the INEC officials had argued that their trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja was in breach of the Constitution and the Criminal Justice Act.
The police, however, argued that there was insecurity in Rivers State, which could interfere with the trial.