Court insists IGP must arrest, produce INEC boss tomorrow
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday insisted that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, must arrest and produce Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in court tomorrow, August 16, 2018.
Justice Stephen Pam had insisted on the order following the absence of Yakubu’s team of lawyers in court without any cogent reason.
It is not clear, however, if Yakubu’s absence this time was in reaction to the stay of execution of the warrant of arrest order issued Monday by the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court.
The appellate court, in the order, halted the arrest of INEC boss pending the determination of the appeal he filed before it.
Justice Pam had on August 1, 2018 ordered the arrest of Yakubu following his continuous absence in court to show cause why he should not be committed to prison over his alleged disobedience to court order.
But his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), told the court that his client’s absence was in consideration of the appeals he filed at the appellate court challenging the lower court’s jurisdiction to entertain the contempt charge, the legality of the charge as well as the arrest order.
The INEC chief in the notice of that appeal claimed that Justice Pam acted in bad faith in the issuance of the arrest order, even when an appeal had been filed against the order and the attention of the judge drawn to the appeal.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, counsel to the applicant, Kanayo Okafor, notified the court of Monday’s Appeal Court’s order of stay proceedings in the matter.
He also noted that counsel to the respondent failed to appear in court without any reason.
The judge, who held that the contempt proceedings and the bench warrant issued for the arrest of INEC chairman still subsists, said: “This court, being a court of record, has nothing to prove that there was an order for stay of proceedings from the Court of Appeal.”
However, while the judge was still giving his ruling, a member of Yakubu’s counsel team walked into the court and made attempt to call the judge’s attention to his presence.
His efforts, however, failed to yield result as the judge adjourned the matter till tomorrow, August 16, 2018 for continuation of the matter.