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Contempt: Court Adjourns INEC Chairman’s Trial Indefinitely

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A Federal High Court in Abuja, has adjourned indefinitely, the contempt charge brought against the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.
Justice Stephen Pam, adjourned the trial to a date that will be communicated to parties in the suit by the authorities of the Federal High Court.
Although, the chairman of INEC was ordered to appear in court personally to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for violating the court order, he was however represented by a legal practitioner, Samuel Omale.

The counsel told the court that the ruling of the Court of Appeal which stayed the execution of the bench warrant issued against Yakubu was ready for service on parties.
He served the court ruling on Emmanuel Okoye, counsel to the applicants in the contempt matter.
Although, there were argument for and against on whether the trial should be adjourned indefinitely, Justice Pam opted for adjournment for a date that would be considered by the authorities of the Federal High Court.

The judge, however, did not hide his reservation on the refusal of Yakubu to appear in court. During yesterday’s proceedings, the judge compelled lawyer to the INEC chief to read to the open court, the position of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ACJA, under section 306 which the lawyer read to the effect that trial in a criminal matter shall not be stayed.
The court subsequently adjourned the matter and informed the parties that a date for continuation of the trial shall be communicated to them, when the court resumes from its annual vacation in September.

Justice Pam had on August 1, issued a bench warrant against the INEC chief, following his failure to appear before the court on three occasions to defend himself in the contempt charge brought against him by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, chairman and legal adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra State respectively.
Based on the first order, the police was supposed to produce Yakubu in court on August 8, however, the INEC chairman was not in court on the said date, forcing the court to adjourn to August 14 with the court again affirming its earlier order of August 1.



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