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Nigerian Senator Fumes Over PET’s Ruling on Live Streaming of Proceedings

Former Senator Shehu Sani has criticized the Presidential Election Tribunal over his ruling that dismissed the Labour Party and People’s Democratic Party’s application for the live streaming of the ongoing lawsuit challenging the controversial emergence of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Ahmed Bola Tinubu as the President-Elect, announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

Earlier on Monday, the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja rejected the applications for a live broadcast of the proceedings.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku, and Labour Party’s Mr. Obi had urged the court to allow a live broadcast of its sessions owing to the magnitude of the dispute.

But a five-member panel of the court headed by Haruna Tsammani ruled on Monday that there was no legal basis for its proceedings to be broadcast live.

Citing section 36 of the Nigerian constitution, Mr. Tsammani held that fair hearing of court proceedings “does not amount to conducting court sittings on television or in a stadium.”

“The request (for a live broadcast of the court proceedings) has no utilitarian value. Live broadcast of court proceedings has no provisions in our statutory books,” Mr. Tsammani noted. “There is nowhere in the constitution and Electoral Act for televising court sittings.”

The court further held that the issue of live broadcast of court hearings has to be “a judicial policy” that would be put in place by the heads of courts.

In his criticism, the Senator, who is also the President of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, noted that the Guinness World record for longest cooking hours set by the world-renowned Nigerian chef, Hilda Bassey Effiong, popularly known as Hilda Buci was undisputed because it was live-streamed while questioning the Presidential Election Tribunal ruling which dismissed the application.

According to him, “Nobody disputed the verdict on Hilda’s cooking because it was broadcast live; why not the Tribunal’s proceedings?”