By Martins Odeh
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday gave an order barring the arrest of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Abdul Aboki leading a three-man panel suspended the enforcement of the arrest warrant issued by the Federal High Court in Abuja on Aug.1.
Aboki held that the injunction was aimed at compelling the police from activating the order of the lower court pending the hearing of the appeal fixed for Sept. 17.
“It will be prejudicial for the trial court to proceed with hearing of the matter scheduled for August 14.
“Consequently, the panel unanimously orders the stay of proceeding pending the hearing of Mahmood’s appeals,” he said.
The INEC boss had filed an appeal challenging the arrest warrant issued against him by the trial court.
In the appeal, Yakubu is challenging the validity of the arrest warrant that was issued against him by the court.
The appellate had maintained that he could not be arrested on the basis of a bench warrant that was legally defective.
He urged the Court of Appeal to invoke its powers and void the arrest order made by Justice Stephen Pam.
Pam had in a bench ruling ordered the Police to arrest and produce Yakubu in court on Aug. 8 to face contempt charges.
The order followed Yakubu’s failure to honour a summons the court issued for him to appear in respect of a suit involving the Anambra Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The INEC chairman had between July 5 and July 10 allegedly failed to honour the court’s summons to defend contempt proceeding.
Yakubu, however, denied disobeying any order of court, adding that he was denied fair hearing by the trial court.
The INEC boss said there was no evidence that any court summons was enrolled and served on him.