Warrant of Arrest: Appeal Court forms special panel to hear INEC’s boss’ case — Nigerian Pilot News
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Warrant of Arrest: Appeal Court forms special panel to hear INEC’s boss’ case

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Its Judgement day for Mahmood Yakubu

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, has set up a special panel to entertain an appeal seeking to set-aside the bench warrant that directed the Nigerian Police Force to arrest the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for disobeying court orders.

A vacation Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Stephen Pam, had on August 1, ordered Prof. Yakubu’s arrest, following his repeated refusal to honour a summon that was issued for him to appear before the court to defend a contempt charge against him.

The trial court further re-activated the order last week Wednesday, even as it specifically directed the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to ensure that the INEC boss was arrested and produced in court on Tuesday.

Embattled INEC Boss Yakubu, had on four different adjourned dates, failed to appear in court to answer to the contempt proceeding that was initiated against him by the Anambra State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by its Chairman and Legal Adviser, Chief Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, respectively.

The INEC boss was alleged to have snubbed a Supreme Court judgment that mandated him to only recognise the list of Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates that was submitted by the Oguebego-led faction of the PDP in Anambra State.

Also , the three-man special panel of the appellate court has already issued hearing notice for all the parties to appear before it today (Monday) with respect to an appeal the INEC Chairman lodged against the order for his arrest.

Nigerian pilot recalls that Justice John Tsoho of Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had on July 4, 2016, made an initial order that summoned the INEC boss to personally appear before the court on the premise that the contempt charge against him, which emanated from a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2014, was “quasi criminal in nature”.

After adjourning the case to July 7, 2016 for hearing, the ruling was appealed by a chieftain of the PDP in Anambra, Mr. Chukwudi Okasia.

In a unanimous verdict on February 15, 2017, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and awarded N250, 000. 00 cost against the appellant. Dissatisfied with the verdict, Okasia took the matter before the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s judgements, though it directed the high court to hear a preliminary objection that was filed by the alleged Contemnors, INEC and its Chairman.

In the apex court’s verdict, the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, set up a special court and assigned Justice Pam to hear the matter.

In a ruling on July 5, 2018, Justice Pam dismissed the preliminary objection that INEC and its Chairman lodged to challenge the contempt proceeding, and consequently ordered Prof Yakubu to appear before him to show cause why he should not be sent to prison.

The INEC boss had since then failed to honour the summon as directed by the Judge.

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