The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday turned down the request by the Federal Government to issue an arrest warrant against the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property had, on behalf of the Federal Government, urged the court to order the arrest of Ekweremadu following the absence of the senator, who was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday on charges of non-declaration of assets.

The prosecuting counsel, Celcus Ukpong, informed the judge, Justice Binta Nyako, that two counts of failure to declare assets were filed against the senator on May 11, 2018.

Ukpong said the summons for the arraignment scheduled for Wednesday had been served on the Deputy Senate President, but he chose to ignore it.

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But responding, Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the court to disregard the application for a bench warrant to be issued against his client.

He informed the court that 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.

Awomolo argued that without first resolving the application, the matter could not proceed to stage of arraignment.

He cited some Supreme Court decisions to back his contention.

Ekweremadu’s properties targeted for interim forfeiture comprised nine in Abuja, two in London, eight in Dubai, and three in Florida, USA.

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