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Court rejects FG application to arrest Ekweremadu

Moves by the federal government to secure an arrest warrant against the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu hit brick wall before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
An application to that effect was moved by ‎the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property on behalf of the Federal Government.
Counsel to the panel, ‎Mr. Celcus Ukpong moved the oral application for the arrest warrant following the absence of Ekweremadu in court.
The senator was to be arraigned in court on two count charges preferred against him by the Federal government bordering on non-declaration of assets.
Ubong ‎had told Justice Binta Nyako that the summons for the arraignment of the lawmaker was served on him since May but he failed to honour it.
The lawyer while persuading the court to issue the bench warrant said “My lord, ‎he decided not to obey the summons. We, therefore, apply for a bench warrant to be issued against him.”
Responding to the above request, counsel to Ekweremadu, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), prayed the court not to grant the application on the ground that his client is challenging the charge as well as the jurisdiction of the court.
He argued that the court must first decide on before proceeding with any other issue including arraignment.
On this, Awomolo cited some Supreme Court decisions to support his contention.
The properties in question comprised nine in Abuja, two in London, eight in Dubai, and three in Florida, USA.
Following its findings on the allegedly undeclared assets, the panel, in May this year, filed two counts against Ekweremadu, alleging in one of the counts in the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018, that upon notice to declare his assets in the manner prescribed by the SPIPRPP, the Deputy Senate President “refused” to make the declaration “without reasonable excuse.”

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