- A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Wednesday, August 8, ordered the police to arrest Professor Mahmood Yakubu
- The court had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman of refusing to obey a valid order court
- The court insists the police must arrest the INEC boss and bring him to court on Tuesday, August 14
A report by the Nigerian Tribune indicates that the police will on Tuesday, August 14, arrest and produce the chairman of INEC, Professor Yakubu Mahmood in court, on the order of Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The court had, last week reaffirmed the order on the police to arrest and produce the INEC boss in court following his absence in court to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for alleged contempt of court.
The contempt proceedings against the INEC boss was stalled severally owing to his absence in court, a development, which led to the court ordering the police to arrest and produce him in court.
Counsel to the INEC, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) had told the court that his client has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the validity of the contempt and added that, until the court determines that motion, there is no valid contempt charge before the court and that, the condition precedent for criminal trial has not been fulfilled.
Awomolo also drew the attention of the court to a letter dated Wednesday, August 1 to the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati to disqualify the judge and transfer the case to another judge on the account of alleged bias.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Gordy Uche (SAN), however, opposed the move for the matter to be adjourned on the ground that there was no basis for that.
He said the court cannot act on the letter written to the chief judge for the disqualification of the judge because there was no directive from the chief judge on the letter.
Uche insisted that until there is a directive from the chief judge, the matter must go on and added that it is a special court issued with a fiat to hear the contempt charge within a specific time.
He said since the fiat issued to the judge to sit as a special court has not been withdrawn, the letter of Awomolo cannot take precedence over the fiat and therefore urged the court to continue to sit and determine the contempt charge against the INEC boss.
Justice Pam agreed with Uche and reaffirmed his order to the police to arrest and produce the Professor Yakubu in court.
The matter was brought to the court by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ejike Oguebego, who had filed a contempt charge against INEC and its chairman for their refusal to recognize him as PDP chairman in Anambra state in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment on December 2014.
Counsel to Oguebego had prayed the court to commit the INEC boss to prison for disregarding the judgment of the apex court, adding that contrary to the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court judgment, both INEC and its chairman have been relating with another faction of the PDP in Anambra state.
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In another development, Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday, July 23, ordered temporary forfeiture of N387 million allegedly found in bank accounts of four ex-officials of INEC to the federal government.
The order followed granting of an ex-parte motion filed by the EFCC pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2004.
NAIJ.com gathered that the former electoral officers, namely; Gabriel Oke, Victor Chukwuani, Okesiji Adeniran and Torgba Nyitse, were joined as co-respondents in the motion.
INEC officials arraigned in a Federal High Court, Abuja on NAIJ.com TV