By Christopher Adejoh
I read with shock, the un-informed piece written by Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo, the Director-General, Media and Publicity to the Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB), titled: Non-payment of Salaries of Judiciary Staff in Kogi: The True State of Affairs.
The write-up contains a truckload of lies. It amazes me that someone who calls himself an evangelist can throw caution to the winds and be so mendacious to the extreme. When events of the last three and a half years in Kogi State will be chronicled, Kingsley Fanwo will go down as the greatest liar of our time. He tells lies with ease. He concorts, conjures and fabricates lies with recklessness and , he is shameless about it.
A clear example of his lies manifests in the way he reported what transpired in the High Court, Kotonkarfe on 12th April, 2019. Fanwo painted a picture of a riotous situation where, according to him, aggrieved workers of the Judiciary “carried placards, chanting war songs and insisting that no court would sit until salaries were paid.” He added to the lies by saying that “the protesters soon turned violent as protesters started burning tyres and planks with a threat to burn down the court.” Fanwo had earlier contradicted himself by alluding to the strong support the case enjoyed with the judicial staff such that, when the court sat on 18th December, “the court sat with the full complement of the Judiciary staff who were supposed to be on strike.” It is unimaginable that the same judicial staff will later turn violent in the manner stated by Fanwo. It is surely contrary to good sense and reason.
Still not done with his lies, Fanwo proceeded to say that “it took Government’s intervention to get the Police and DSS to the court to secure the premises and the Judge.” Nothing can be further from the truth.
In a most blatant way, Fanwo lied again by saying that “the Judge quietly left the premises, without even informing the lawyers who were waiting for His Lordship.”
Upon reading Fanwo’s piece, I wondered the volumes of lies and falsehood a man has to tell in order to get paid. Anyone who was in court on that day would testify that there is no modicum of truth in Fanwo’s narratives. I was in court, live, and can authoritatively narrate what happened. Meanwhile, suffice it to say that Fanwo was not in court on that day and therefore did not know what transpired. I challenge him to come out to deny this.
Apparently, because of the sensitive nature of the case, there was a visible presence of security men consisting of armed policemen and men of DSS, all around the court. The court sat and took the motion listed for hearing. There was no protester and the court proceedings went on normally. After hearing arguments of counsel for both parties, the court stood down the case for ruling. If the atmosphere was as violent and riotous as painted by Fanwo, it would have been impossible for the court to sit at all, let alone standing the case down for two hours.
It was while the Judge was in his chambers, writing his ruling that he was informed that there was an “order from above” to withdraw the security men regarding the court. At this point His Lordship ,wisely, in my view, invited the lawyers into his chambers and informed them that in the light of the security situation, he was adjourning the case sine die. An announcement of the decision of the Judge was made in the open court by the Registrar of the court and buttressed by an officer of the Department of the State Security. It was on note that people in the court left quietly.
Withdrawal of policemen in a court in the course of a court’s proceeding is tragic enough. Such an unconstitutional act coming from “order from above” makes it more deplorable and lamentable. It is unprecedented. It is only in Kogi State that such an outright desecration can happen without consequence. And, it is simply because Kogi State has been turned into an Animal Farm, where anything goes , under the yoke of one man. This is the height of tyranny.
The arguments of Fanwo against the court’s sitting while JUSUN members were on strike is unfounded. For one, Judges are not members of JUSUN and cannot be said to be on strike. Two, the action itself was instituted in the course of the strike action to avert a disastrous constitutional crisis in the State. The government itself should be grateful to the court for assisting in keeping the peace, by its restraining order against the House of Assembly. It is undeniable, and I am sure Fanwo will agree that before the order was violation of the order, matters were kept in status quo. And I will also honestly accept too that it has taken the government millions of Naira to secure the publication of advertorial, and sponsor people to television stations: Channels, AIT and TVC, et al, to explain many things after the violation of the court order by the House of Assembly.
The primary responsibility of any government is to secure lives and property. Fanwo’s piece demonstrates clearly the propensity of government of Kogi State to instigate violence, not only against the people but against a duly constituted authority. This is the height of irresponsibility