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Court strikes out APC candidate’s bid to halt prosecution of suspended Adamawa REC

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An application brought forth by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Senator Aisha Binani, aiming to halt the prosecution of the suspended Adamawa Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Hudu Yunusa-Ari, faced dismissal by the Abuja Federal High Court.

The court had previously issued an interim order instructing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Attorney-General of the Federation, and the Inspector General of Police to maintain the “status quo” concerning the prosecution of Hudu. This directive was in response to a motion ex parte filed by Binani, who sought the interpretation of Sections 144 and 149 of the Electoral Act 2022.

Sections 144 and 149 of the Electoral Act 2022 state, “The Commission shall consider any recommendation made to it by a tribunal with respect to the prosecution by it of any person for an offense disclosed in any election petition.”

Binani’s motion aimed to restrain the parties temporarily, allowing INEC to explain why Hudu, her pivotal witness at the Adamawa Tribunal, should face prosecution while the tribunal proceedings were ongoing.

Rotimi Jacobs, INEC’s lawyer, argued that the application was an academic exercise designed to prevent a court of coordinate jurisdiction from executing its functions. In response, Justice Donatus U. Okorowo lifted the interim order, stating, “There is no order of this court extending the lifespan of this order on status quo.”

Justice Okorowo asserted that it was not within the court’s purview to stop proceedings in a court of coordinated jurisdiction. He emphasized that he lacked the authority to bind a court of similar standing, concluding, “On the whole, the INEC objection succeeds; this case is struck out.”

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