- For failing to appear in court, the Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the arrest of INEC boss Mahmood Yakubu
- The court said it would not tolerate his refusal to appear
- The judge held that the reason for Mahmood’s absence was not tenable
A Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday, August 1, ordered a bench warrant against the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud, for disobedience of court order.
This Day reports that Justice Stephen Pam gave the order for Mahmoud to be arrested after his absence in court to explain why he should not be committed to prison for alleged contempt of court.
At the resumed hearing in the case on Wednesday, August 1, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), counsel to Mahmood, told the court that his client was absent in court because he was attending an important national assignment in Mali.
In a short ruling, the judge held that the reason for Mahmood’s absence was not tenable, because he had three times, refused to honour the court’s summons to defend the contempt charge against him.
The charges were brought against the chairman by Ejike Oguebego for his refusal to recognise him as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment of December, 2014.
The Supreme Court had directed INEC to recognise Oguebego as the authentic chairman of the PDP in Anambra state. The apex court also directed the electoral body to accept the list of candidates for elective office from Oguebego group but INEC allegedly refused.
Pam said that the court would not fold its hands and allow a party who was a professor of law to turn it into a toothless dog.
“It is sad that the contemnor and his counsel, a senior lawyer, have chosen not to obey the orders of this court in respect of this contempt charge. The contempt of the contemnor to this court can no longer be tolerated and it should not be allowed to fester,” the judge said.
The judge faulted the letter by Awomolo dated July 27 making excuse for Mahmood’s absence in court on grounds that it contradicted another letter by his client dated July 29.
He consequently ordered that Mahmood should be arrested for his flagrant disobedience of court orders by refusing to appear in court, and adjourned the matter until August 8.
“A bench warrant is hereby issued against Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, INEC Chairman; this repeated act of disobedience to court order to show cause can no longer be accepted by this court," he said.
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Recall that Legit.ng earlier reported that Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam ordered the chairman of INEC, to appear before it to explain why he should not be committed to prison for allegedly violating valid court orders.
The judge dismissed a preliminary objection by Yakubu to appear in court to explain why he should not be committed to two years imprisonment.
On Tuesday, July 10, Yakubu failed to honour a court order directing him to appear in court or risk going to jail.
INEC officials Abuja court - Legit.ng TV