Court suspends hearing in alleged contempt suit filed against INEC chairman

Court suspends hearing in alleged contempt suit filed against INEC chairman

- Federal High Court, Abuja, suspends hearing in the contempt suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

- Justice Stephen Pam in a ruling adjourned the matter in view of an order made by the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings

- Counsel to the applicant told the court there was an order from the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday, August 16, suspended hearing in the contempt suit against the chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu pending the hearing of an appeal in respect of the suit.

Justice Stephen Pam, in a short ruling at the resumed hearing, said that he was adjourning the matter in view of an order made by the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings.

“Before me is a ruling from the Court of Appeal dated Aug. 13, signed by Justice Abdul Aboki presiding.

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“In view of the Court of Appeal’s order to stay proceedings, this matter is adjourned to a date to be communicated to both parties, pending the outcome of the appeal.”

Emmanuel Okorie, counsel to the applicant, Ejike Oguebego, had told the court that although the matter was for continuation of contempt proceedings, there was an order from the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings.

The judge had earlier told INEC’s counsel, Samuel Omale, to convey his displeasure to Yakubu’s counsel Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) over the manner in which he was handling the matter.

“Send my displeasure to Chief Awomolo, I do not like the way he is handling this matter. His attitude to this court is disappointing; he has shown a lot of disrespect to the court.

“He cannot sit in his house and expect the court to act based on information gotten from television announcements, I am not on his payroll and he should not treat me as such,” the judge said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court had on Aug. 1, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Yakubu for “flagrant” disobedience of court orders.

NAN reports that the Court of Appeal vacated the arrest order on Monday and ordered a stay of proceedings in the alleged contempt charge pending the determination of the substantive case.

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NAIJ.com previously reported that the Federal High Court in Abuja has insisted that the Inspector-General of Police must arrest and produce the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, in court on August 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Stephen Pam gave the order following the absence of Yakubu’s team of lawyers in court and there was no explanation as to why they were absent.

At the commencement of proceedings, counsel to the applicant, Kanayo Okafor, informed the court that the Court of Appeal on Monday, August 13, asked the court to stay proceedings in the matter.

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Source: Naija.ng

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