Court Refuses To Extend Order Restraining INEC from Prosecuting Suspended Adamawa REC

Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, declined to extend the order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from prosecuting the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari.

The commission had last week filed a six-count charge against the embattled REC at the Adamawa State High Court, Yola, over his role in the crisis that trailed the March 18 governorship election in the state.

Yunusa-Ari shocked many Nigerians on April 16 when he declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha “Binani” Dahiru as the winner of the election while the collation of the election result was still ongoing.

INEC, thereafter, declared the announcement null and void and ordered the REC to stay away from election duties in the state.

Justice Okorowo on July 10 restrained the commission from going ahead with the planned prosecution of the official.

The judge, who made the order while ruling on an ex parte motion filed by Binani’s counsel, Michael Aondoaka (SAN), ordered the parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the matter.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the INEC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told the court that the applicant had not served the respondents with the court’s order of July 10.

He also filed a counter affidavit challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The interim order, according to Jacobs, expired on Tuesday.

Aoadoakaa, a former Attorney-General of the Federation, retorted, saying the interim order cannot expire since the defendants had not shown cause as directed by the court.

The judge adjourned the matter to July 24 after he refused to extend the order restraining INEC from prosecuting its official for alleged electoral offences.