The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has rejected the Federal Government's request for an arrest warrant against the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu.
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property had applied for the arrest of Ekweremadu following his absence in court on Wednesday, November 7, to defend the charges of non-declaration of assets leveled against him.
Prosecuting counsel, Celsius Ukpong, informed the judge, Justice Binta Nyako, that two counts failure to declare assets were filed against the Senator on May 11.
He applied for bench warrant to be issued against the lawmaker following his failure to appear for arraignment on Wednesday.
However, counsel to Ekweremadu, Chief Solomon Awomolo (SAN), objected to the request for bench warrant on the ground that his client had on November 1 filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the charge against him, and also the validity of the charge itself.
He argued that without resolving the application, the matter could not proceed to stage of arraignment.
Awomolo urged the court to discountenance the arguments of the complainant, emphasizing the judgement of the appellate court against the panel that filed the criminal charge against Ekweremadu has no power under the law to prosecute any accused person.
Presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, refused to issue the warrant to arrest Ekweremadu on the ground that the senator is already challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the competency of the charge brought against him.
The judge fixed February 26, 2019, to hear the objection filed by the lawmaker against the court's jurisdiction and also the competence of the charge against him.