Justice Stephen Pam, a sitting judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has ordered the arrest of Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), over his refusal to honour court summons for the third consecutive time.
Issuing the arrest warrant on Wednesday, Justice Pam asked the Police force to effect Yakubu’s arrest with immediate effect.
The Judge first invited Yakubu on July 5 to appear before him to give reasons and show proof of why he should not be arrested and sent to prison for contempt of the court.
The judge made the order for Yakubu to appear before him on July 5 while ruling on a preliminary objection by INEC and its Chairman in a contempt proceeding filed by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, respectively.
Giving reason for his failure to honour the invitation of the court five days after being invited, counsel to the INEC Chairman, Adeboyega Awomolo, informed the court that his client had filed an appeal challenging that order at the Appeal Court and another appeal before the Federal High Court asking for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal.
Countering the claims of the counsel to the INEC Chairman, the plaintiff informed the court that there was no material evidence before the court to stop the order of the court or the hearing.
In his ruling on July 10, Justice Pam held that the fiat by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to hear the matter subsists.
Adjourning the case to August 1 (today), the judge chose the first day of August to allow the INEC chairman to attend to his mother’s funeral but insisted that the INEC boss must appear before the court as ordered at the last sitting.
However, the INEC chairman was once again absent as the court reconvened again to continue hearing on Wednesday, prompting the judge to place an order for his arrest.