Thursday, September 28, 2017

INEC Might Not Be Able To Continue With Dino Melaye's Recall For Now (Details)

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday directed parties in the planned recall of a senator, Dino Melaye, to continue with the matter at the Appeal Court.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had returned to the court to secure an order allowing it to serve Mr. Melaye with documents regarding the matter, through substituted means, after the senator repeatedly avoided being served necessary papers.

But Mr. Melaye’s counsel, Nkem Okoro, informed the court that his client’s record of appeal at the Appeal Court had already been received and therefore a valid appeal was already pending at the higher court.

Consequently, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, ordered parties to proceed to the higher court for further action on the case.

Mr. Dimgba also questioned the validity of the motion brought by INEC, saying such an application could only be brought pursuant to a matter pending before the lower court.

Following Mr. Dimgba’s remarks about INEC’s request, the commission’s lawyer, Yunusa Hustaz, withdrew the motion.

Mr. Dimgba, then, struck out the appeal brought by INEC.

INEC had started the process for the continuation of Mr. Melaye’s recall, after Mr. Dimgba ordered the commission to proceed with the said recall on September 11.

Mr. Melaye’s recall process which the commission said it started following petitions by over half of the members of the senator’s constituency, had been suspended by the same court in July.

The suspension followed an appeal by Mr. Melaye challenging the authenticity of the recall process, and alleging a plot by Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello to remove him.

According to Mr. Melaye, the petitions allegedly signed by over half of the members of his constituency in Kogi-west Local government area is rife with fake signatures.

Mr. Melaye had asked the court to stop the recall process, on the grounds that he (Melaye), was not given a chance to defend himself on the allegations contained in the said petition before the process began.

But in his ruling, Mr. Dimgba said the procedure for the planned recall, already provided for Mr. Melaye an opportunity to defend himself. He added that the commission was not under any obligation to ”formally inform Mr. Melaye after verifying the signatories to the reported petitions.”

The court also decided that Mr. Melaye’s constituency members reserved a right to take back the position they had given to Mr. Melaye, if they considered him no longer fit for the position of a senatorial representative.

It ordered INEC to produce a new timetable and provide Mr. Melaye with the details of all the signatories to the petitions.

When INEC officials attempted to serve Mr. Melaye with documents for the continuation of the recall process, the senator declined to receive the document.

Subsequently, INEC returned to court to seek its approval for substituted service of the documents to the senator.

Last Tuesday, officials of INEC stormed the National Assembly complex to formally notify the senator of his recall petition and hand him the relevant documents. Their action was not successful as they met the lawmaker’s office locked.

Until the determination of the current application at the upper court, INEC may not be able to proceed with the matter.

PemiumTimes

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