A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has again ordered the arrest of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for flouting a court order.
Justice Stephen Pam gave the order of arrest following the absence of Yakubu in court on Wednesday.
While delivering his ruling, Justice Pam said the bench warrant issued to Yakubu on August 1, 2018, had not been vacated and the police force “is hereby ordered to produce Prof. Yakubu in court to show cause why he should not be committed to prison.”
When the matter came up for hearing, Yakubu’s lawyer, Chief Adeboyega Awomolo(SAN), brought an application of appeal on the grounds that he had already filed an appeal against three different rulings delivered by Justice Pam.
He also claimed that his client had filed another motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the validity of the charge.
The senior advocate said, “Until the court determines the validity of that motion there is no valid contempt charge before the court. My lord no proof or evidence and criminal proceedings are before this court and until they are produced, this court cannot compel the appearance of my client.”
Yakubu’s lawyer added that he had also written a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, to transfer the case to another judge on account of bias.
He said, “I will be asking your lordship to adjourn the matter to enable the CJ to take a decision on the matter.”
However, the counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Goddy Uche (SAN), rejected the application for an adjournment on the grounds that there was no basis for that.
Uche argued that the judge could not act on that letter because there was no directive from the chief judge.
“My lord, there is no such order from the chief judge asking you to hand off from the matter and until there is a clear directive to hand off, the proceedings must continue.
“The letter of Awomolo cannot take precedence over the fiat issued by the chief judge to the court.”
After listening to arguments from both sides, Justice Pam ordered the police to arrest and produce the INEC chairman and bring him to court on August 14, 2018.