Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has challenged the validity of the arrest warrant that was issued against him by the Federal High Court in Abuja.In a six grounds of appeal he lodged before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, the INEC boss maintained that he could not be arrested on the basis of a bench warrant he said was legally defective.
Justice Pam had in a bench ruling on Wednesday, ordered the Nigerian Police Force to arrest and produce the INEC boss in court on August 8 to face contempt charge. The order followed Mahmood’s failure to honour a summon the court issued for him to appear with respect to a suit involving the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Meanwhile, in a notice of appeal he lodged barely 24 hours after the arrest warrant was issued against him, Mahmood, denied disobeying any order from the high court. Insisting that he was denied fair hearing by the trial Judge.
The INEC Chairman said there was no evidence that any court summon was enrolled and served on him by the court’s bailiff. He argued that the high court erred in law when it ordered that he should be arrested for allegedly disobeying its order, “when the conditions necessary to warrant the issuance of bench warrant have not been satisfied”.
Mahmood’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, further argued that no order was enrolled and served on his client for his personal appearance in court. “The court did not give Professor Yakubu or his counsel opportunity to explain his absence in court and why the Bench warrant should not be issued”, he added.