Appeal Court halts arrest of INEC Chairman, Yakubu

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The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has called off the arrest warrant issued against Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by Justice Stephen Pam of the Federal High Court.

But Justice Abdul Aboki has now led a three-man panel to suspend the enforcement of the arrest warrant in a ruling they delivered on Monday, in an appeal filed by the INEC chairman challenging the order made by Justice Pam for his arrest.

The appeal marked CA/A/765/2018 was filed by Prof Yakubu and the INEC against Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and Legal Adviser respectively of Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The appeal court dismissed the order summoning the INEC chairman and another ordering the Inspector General of Police, to arrest and produce him in court over his refusal to obey court orders.

Meanwhile, Justice Aboki said since the matter has been adjourned to September 17 for hearing of the main appeal, “it will be prejudicial for the trial court to proceed with hearing of the matter scheduled for August 14″.

Therefore, the panel unanimously ordered the halt of the proceeding pending the hearing of Prof Yakubu’s appeals.

According to Justice Aboki, “Both sides agreed that they have not filed briefs of argument. Parties have also agreed that the applications cannot be taken without going into issues raised in the main appeal.

“In view of these, Justice held that the proper thing to do was to adjourn to enable the panel consider issues raised in the main appeal and those in the applications.

“In the circumstances, the proper order to make is to adjourn both the applications and the main appeal to a later date.”

The appeal court panel reasoned that “since the trial court was aware that an appeal had been entered and considering the legality of the warrant of arrest, it will be prejudicial to the appeal for the court below to continue with the matter.

“We therefore stay execution of the warrant of arrest pending the determination of the motion on notice which will be taken together with the main appeal,” Justice Aboki held.

He therefore adjourned the case to September 17 for hearing and determination of the appeal.

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