Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to appear in court and answer contempt proceedings against them.
Justice Tsoho gave the order while ruling on arguments on whether or not the physical presence of INEC and its chairman was necessary for the court to determine the contempt proceedings initiated against them by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye – Chairman and Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.
The judge rejected the argument by lawyer to INEC and Yakubu, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), that the nature of the contempt proceedings against his clients was civil and could be determined without their physical presence.
Justice Tsoho said whether civil or criminal, contempt proceedings are always quasi-criminal, which required the physical presence of the alleged contemnor in court for him/her to be heard on whether or not the order of committal should be made.
Relying on the provisions of Order 9 Rule 14 of the Judgment Enforcement Rules, Justice Tsoho said it was the duty of the court’s Registrar to issue and serve Forms 48 and 49 on parties in disobedience of court’s order for them to attend court, failing which a bench warrant may be issued against the alleged contemnors to attend court and show cause why order of committal should not be made against them.
“I hold that the alleged contemnors are underobligation to appear before this court to show cause why an order of committal should not be made against them,” the judge said.


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