INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu

The Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday suspended hearing in the contempt suit against the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu pending the hearing of an appeal in respect of the suit.

Justice Stephen Pam, in a short ruling at the resumed hearing, said that he was adjourning the matter in view of an order made by the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings.

“Before me is a ruling from the Court of Appeal dated Aug. 13, signed by Justice Abdul Aboki presiding.

“In view of the Court of Appeal’s order to stay proceedings, this matter is adjourned to a date to be communicated to both parties, pending the outcome of the appeal.”

Mr Emmanuel Okorie, counsel to the applicant, Ejike Oguebego, had told the court that although the matter was for continuation of contempt proceedings, there was an order from the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings.

The judge had earlier told INEC’s counsel, Mr Samuel Omale, to convey his displeasure to Yakubu’s counsel Mr Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) over the manner in which he was handling the matter.

“Send my displeasure to Chief Awomolo, I do not like the way he is handling this matter. His attitude to this court is disappointing; he has shown a lot of disrespect to the court.

“He cannot sit in his house and expect the court to act based on information gotten from television announcements, I am not on his payroll and he should not treat me as such,” the judge said.

The court had on Aug. 1, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Yakubu for “flagrant” disobedience of court orders.

The Court of Appeal vacated the arrest order on Monday and ordered a stay of proceedings in the alleged contempt charge pending the determination of the substantive case.

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