A federal high court sitting in Abuja has insisted on the arrest of Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a day after its arrest order was halted.
The Abuja division of the appeal court ordered stay of execution of the order on Monday, following a motion filed by Yakubu challenging it.
At its sitting on Monday, the appellate court had ordered that the matter be put on hold pending the outcome of Yakubu’s initial appeal in the case.
Stephen Pam, the judge of the federal high court, had issued the warrant after the INEC chairman failed to appear before him for the third consecutive time.
Yakubu had been asked to appear and defend a case filed against him by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, chairman, and legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra state, respectively.
He challenged the arrest order at the appellate court on the grounds that there is an existing appeal before the court challenging the federal high court’s decision to summon him.
In a ruling by its three-man panel, the court of appeal said it would be prejudicial for the court to proceed with the hearing of the case since the original appeal filed against the summon is yet to be determined.
But when it resumed sitting on Tuesday, the federal high court insisted on the execution of the arrest warrant on the grounds that there is no evidence of the order halting the arrest.
Adegboyega Awomolo, Yakubu’s counsel, was not in court at the commencement of the sitting, but arrived while the judge was delivering his ruling.
“The counsel for the respondent is not in court and no reason has been given for their absence,” Pam said.
“The contempt proceedings and the bench warrant issued for the arrest of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman still subsists, the I-G is to carry out the order of the arrest of Yakubu.
“This court being a court of record has nothing to prove that there was an order for stay from the Court of appeal.”
He subsequently adjourned the matter till August 16.