The Federal High Court, Abuja has refused to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, over his absence in court to defend the charges of refusal to declare his assets.
Justice Binta Nyako declined to issue the warrant yesterday, noting that the senator was already challenging the jurisdiction of the court and validity of the charge against him.
The Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Assets had through its counsel, Mr Celsius Ukpong, applied to Justice Nyako to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Ekweremadu to compel his attendance in court to defend the charges against him.
The counsel told the judge that the lawmaker ought to be in court physically in connection with the criminal charge instituted against him since May 11.
He also informed the court that the Deputy Senate President decided on his own not to obey the summon, despite being duly served with the charge as required by law.
Ekweremadu’s counsel, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, however, objected to the request for the bench warrant on the ground that the senator had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the charge against him and also the validity of the charge itself.