By Innocent Anaba
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu risks being sent to prison if a committal proceeding filed by the Young Democratic Party, YDP, now pending before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos sails through on January 18, 2019.
This followed the Form 49 issued by the court on Wednesday, against the alleged contemnor (Yakubu), inviting him to appear in court to show cause why he should not be sent to prison for refusing to comply with the judgment of the court made on November 29, 2018 by Justice Ayotunde Faji.
The Form 49 reads: “Take notice that the defendant will on a date as approved by the court apply for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the judgment of the Federal High Court by Justice A.O. Faji made on November 29, 2018 enjoining you to recognise the second defendant as the acting National Chairman, Henry Nwabueze of the Young Democratic Party and thereby neglected to obey the said judgment.”
The contention is that under Section 72 of the Sheriff’s and Civil Process Act “if a person refuses or neglects to comply with an order of court made against him other than for payment of money, the court instead of dealing with him as a judgment debtor guilty of the misconduct defined in paragraph F of Section 66 of the Act, may order that he committed to prison and detained in custody until he has Obeyed the order.
Placing reliance in the case of John Ebhodaghe vs Mike Okoye, the applicant’s counsel said an order of committal against the respondent will be proper and deserving given that the respondent has been granted adequate notice and time of complying with a valid court order.
Quoting Justice Niki Tobi, (JSC) as he then was, he said that obedience to orders of court is fundamental to the good order, peace and stability of the Nigerian nation.
He therefore, asked the court to cite the respondent for contempt as provided by Order 35 Rule1 (2) (b) of the Civil Procedure Rules of the court.