The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court,yesterday, declined to order the arrest of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, following his absence in court to face trial over his alleged refusal to declare his assets to the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Assets.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by trial Justice Binta Nyako, turned down an application the Chief Okio Obono-Obla led Presidential Panel made for a bench warrant to be issued against Ekweremadu.
Justice Nyako said she was not unmindful of the fact that Ekweremadu had earlier filed processes to challenge the jurisdiction of the court, as well as the legal competence of the two-count criminal charge the Panel preferred against him.
The Panel had through its lawyer, Mr. Celsius Ukpong, insisted that Ekweremadu ought to physically appear before the court to either enter his plea to the charge, or to query the validity of his trial.
It told the court that the defendant was duly served with all the relevant processes in the charge that was entered against him since May 11.
The prosecution accused Ekweremadu of deliberately making himself unavailable in court so as to frustrate his trial.
However, Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, persuaded the court to reject the application which he said was highly unmeritorious.
Aside drawing the attention of the court to his client’s grounds of objection, the defence lawyer, said it was more honourable for the Presidential Panel to withdraw the charge since the Court of Appeal has declared its operations illegal.
After she had listened to both parties, Justice Nyako, said there was no necessity for the court to issue a bench warrant against Ekweremadu.
The Judge subsequently adjourned the case till February 26, 2019, to hear Ekweremadu’s preliminary objections to his trial.
Meantime, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has warned the Federal Government not to toy with proper investigation into Tuesday’s failed assassination attempt on the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, else it will assume the government sponsored the attack.
Rejecting the Police preliminary report that claimed the attack was burglary, the opposition party urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Police to conduct a discreet investigation on the sinister act to avoid being suspect.
Arising from its emergency meeting in Enugu, yesterday, the youth wing of PDP in South East zone said it unequivocally and vehemently condemn the attempted assassination, describing it as “barbaric and cowardly.”
South East PDP youth leader, Mr. Chidiebere Egwu together with the five states youth leaders in the zone who addressed newsmen at the party’s zonal office in Enugu said “It is preposterous, irrational and morally reprehensible for anyone to conceive a plot to eliminate him (Ekweremadu) for whatever reason or differences.”
Also yesterday, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths Council has charged the Police to prove that they are not partisan in handling the investigation into the recent assassination attempt on Ekweremadu and his family members.
In a statement signed by the Acting National President of the council, Dr. Kingsley Dozie, Ohanaeze youths said: “We believe that the Nigerian Police are not partisan in discharging their roles of saving lives and properties, they should prove it in this matter.
“We thank God for saving the lives of Sen. Ekweremmadu and his family.”
We equally call on other security agencies to also step up their investigation to bring perpetrators to book.
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