The federal government filed the application, but was turned down by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court.
Prosecuting counsel, Celcus Ukpong, said two counts of failure to declare assets were filed against the senator on May 11, 2018 A request by the federal government to issue a warrant for the arrest of the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has been turned down by the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, November 8.
The deputy Senate president, who was scheduled to be arraigned for non-declaration of assets on Wednesday, November 7, failed to appear in court, Punch reports. Ekweremadu’s absence in court prompted the federal government through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, to urge the court to order the arrest of the deputy Senate president.
Justice Binta Nyako was told by the prosecuting counsel, Celcus Ukpong, that two counts of failure to declare assets were filed against Ekweremadu on May 11, 2018.
According to Ukpong, summons for the arraignment scheduled for Wednesday had been served on the senator but he chose to disobey it.
He said: “He decided not to obey the summons. We therefore apply for a bench warrant to be issued against him.”
In his reaction, Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the court to disregard the application for a bench warrant to be issued against the senator.
According to him, his client had on November 1, 2018 filed a motion challenging the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
He said his client could not be arraigned if the application was not resolved first. Awomolo passed a copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgement to Justice Nyako.
The judge ruled that a bench warrant would not be issued against Ekweremadu until the motion challenging the court’s jurisdiction and issues concerning the recent Court of Appeal’s judgement were resolved. The matter was adjourned till February 26, 2019.