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Court quashes INEC’s motion for substituted service on Melaye’s recall


Dino Melaye

• ICPC arraigns NCRI boss for violating Federal Character in staff recruitment
A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday struck out a motion ex parte by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking a substituted service on the representative of Kogi West in the Senate, Dino Melaye.

The motion, which was earlier withdrawn by INEC before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba stuck it out, appears to have caused a setback to efforts at enforcing a court order on Melaye’s recall.

Justice Dimgba struck out the motion following an oral application by INEC’s counsel, Yunus Ustas Usman (SAN), to withdraw the motion.

He further directed all applications relating to the petition for the recall of the Senator to be henceforth resolved at the Court of Appeal.

Justice Dimgba had, in his September 11, 2017 judgment, given INEC the go-ahead to continue with the recall process after dismissing Melaye’s suit seeking to stop INEC from doing so.

But the Judge had also ordered INEC to forward a copy of the said petition it received from Melaye’s constituency, signatories to the petition and the full list of petitioners to Melaye for verification.

However, efforts by the electoral body to serve the court’s order on the Senator had proved abortive as he was alleged to have been evading service.

Consequently, INEC in an application on September 15, approached the court for an order of substituted service on him.

When the matter was mentioned yesterday, Melaye’s counsel, Nkem Okoro, who held brief for Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged the court to divest itself of jurisdiction in all applications relating to the matter on the grounds that appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal.

Okoro argued that it would amount to judicial impertinence for the judge to continue with any application relating to the issue.

In his response, Usman, who claimed he had just been served with the appeal, argued that ordinarily, the judge should hands off from any application relating to the matter if it was an ordinary case.

Justice Dimgba consequently struck out the ex parte motion at no cost to the parties following its withdrawal by INEC’s counsel.

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday charged the acting Executive Director of the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger State, Professor Samuel Agboire, to court for wrongful employment of 34 members of staff in the institute.

Professor Agboire, who was charged before Justice Yellim Bogoro of the Federal High Court, Minna, Niger State, was accused of violating the Federal Character Commission (FCC) Act, 2004 by allegedly employing 34 persons in the institute without complying with its provisions.

ICPC, in a three-count charge accused him of failure to furnish the FCC with necessary details of the employment as required by law and failure to comply with employment laws, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 14 (3)(b) and punishable under Section 15 (1) of the Federal Character Commission Act, 2004.

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