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INEC chairman asks appeal court to quash contempt, arrest order on him

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has asked the Court of Appeal to quash an arrest order on him over alleged disobedience of an Abuja Federal High Court order.

In a notice of appeal filed through his counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), yesterday, he challenged the arrest order issued against him on Wednesday by Justice Stephen Pam, less than 24 hours after the arrest order was made.

Yakubu claimed that till date, no order was served on him for his appearance in court as required by law, adding that the judge acted in bad faith because he had already filed an appeal against the order and that the judge’s attention was drawn to the matter.

He also argued that the warrant of arrest against him was a nullity because none of the parties in the contempt case applied for issuance of a bench warrant except the judge who did so on his own.

He insisted that the court breached section 36 of the 1999 Constitution by striking out his motion without hearing it, thereby denying him the right to fair hearing in the determination of his application.

Yakubu, therefore, prayed the court to set setting aside Justice Pam’s ruling of August 1, during which he issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Respondents in the notice of appeal are Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, who instituted the contempt charge for themselves and on behalf of other members of the party’s executive committee.

Justice Pam had on Wednesday issued a bench warrant against the INEC chief following his failure to appear before the court on three occasions to defend himself in the contempt charge brought against him by the Anambra State PDP.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the appeal.

Meanwhile, a Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, has fixed September 24, 2018 for judgment on the All Progressives Congress (APC) wards, councils and state congresses held on May 12, 19, 20 and 21, 2018.


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