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INEC chairman asks court to set aside arrest warrant

Author:
Chinedu Asadu

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has challenged the the arrest warrant issued against him by a federal high court in Abuja.

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In an application filed before the Abuja division of the court of appeal, Yakubu prayed the court to quash the arrest warrant on the grounds that it was “issued in bad fate” and is “legally defective”.

Stephen Pam, a judge of the federal high court, had issued the warrant on Wednesday after the INEC chairman failed to appear before him for the third consecutive time.

Yakubu had been asked to appear and defend a case filed against him by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, chairman, and legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra state, respectively.

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Before the arrest warrant was issued, Adeboyega Awomolo, counsel to the INEC chairman, had informed the court that his client filed an appeal challenging the initial summon before the federal high court which sought for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.

In the six grounds of appeal filed at the court on Thursday, Awomolo argued his client was denied fair hearing by the trial judge before the order was given, and that the conditions “necessary to warrant the issuance of bench warrant have not been satisfied”.

He also argued that the judge “punished” the INEC chairman for alleged non-obedience of the court’s order “when there was an appeal against the order”.

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“The learned trial judge erred in law when he descended into the arena of conflict when he argued the case of the respondents without opportunity of hearing given to the appellants or their counsel before striking out the motion asking for adjournment of further hearing of the alleged contempt proceedings,” he said.

He, therefore, prayed the appellate court to issue an order setting aside the ruling of the federal high court ordering the barest warrant.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the appeal.

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