The Federal High Court Abuja, on Tuesday insisted that the Inspector -General of Police, (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris should arrest and produce the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in court on August 16 to face contempt charge.
Justice Stephen Pam gave the order on Tuesday following the absence of Yakubu’s team of lawyers in court and no explanation as to why they were absent.
In a brief ruling the judge stated: “At the commencement of proceedings, counsel to the applicant, Kanayo Okafor informed the court that the Court of Appeal on Monday, asked the court to stay proceedings in the matter.
“The counsel to the respondent is not in court and no reason has been given for their absence.
“The contempt proceedings and the bench warrant issued for the arrest of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman still subsist; the IGP 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 ruled.
However, while the judge was delivering his ruling, one of the counsels to the respondent team who ought to have announced appearance for Yakubu walked into the court and made attempts to call the judge’s attention to his presence but it was rather too late, Justice Pam adjourned the matter until August 16 for continuation.
The counsel later told journalists that he came late because he was at the Court of Appeal making efforts to get the ruling to present to the lower court, but the ruling was not yet ready.
The Federal High Court Judge who is sitting as a special court on the contempt charge had on August 1, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Yakubu for “flagrant” disobedience of court orders after INEC chairman refused to attend sitting on three consecutive time.
The Court of Appeal vacated the arrest order on Monday and ordered a stay of proceedings pending the determination of the appeal filed by Yakubu.
The lower court, however insists that no such order has been communicated to it and being a court of record, it needs a document to show that there is such an order and not verbal information.