Catholic Laity Council, others task PEPT on impartiality, oppose military intervention in Niger 

By Ononye VC

Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Action Nigeria, and Catholics in Politics and Business Leaders’ Forum have called for impartiality ahead of ruling by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

Speaking on behalf of the group at a joint press conference in Abuja, yesterday, a former presidential aspirant and the chairman, Catholics in Politics and Business Leaders’ Forum, Prof. Pat Utomi, said Nigerians expect justice to be served in a manner that reflects the will of the people.

He said the justices should acknowledge the weight of their responsibilities and understand that their decision would shape the course of the nation’s future.

Utomi reminded them that all eyes are on the judiciary as the nation eagerly awaits their judgment, even as he urged adherence to principles of fairness and truth.

He said: “We firmly believe that there won’t be anarchy, and heaven will not fall when a just and transparent judgment is served, and we strongly condemn any form of threats against the justices in an attempt to influence the judgment.

“We want to send a clear message to politicians that no amount of threats or intimidations will weaken the determination of Nigerians across ethnic and religious backgrounds, who are united in their pursuit of a new Nigeria.

“We urge all politicians to respect the integrity and independence of the judiciary and allow justice to be served without intervention, and we urge the justices to recognise the historical significance of their decision, as a fair and just judgment will emancipate Nigeria from its current hardship and burden of bad fiscal and monetary policies.”

Also, while opposing military intervention in reversing the coup in Niger Republic, the trio urged Heads of State of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to “recognise the importance of engaging with stakeholders who advocate for peace, reconciliation, and respect for the will of the Nigerien people.”

The group asked the Heads of State “to leverage diplomatic avenues at their disposal and engage in dialogue, mediation and negotiation to find a way forward that is acceptable and truly represents the wishes of the Nigerien citizens.”

It stressed: “Now is the time for them to demonstrate their commitment to the values of regional cooperation, inclusivity, and respect for sovereignty.”

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