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Court to Hear Suit Against INEC Chairman on Asset Declaration Today

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INEC unveils ground rules for hitch-free, issues-based campaigns — Nigeria  — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World NewsBy Uche Amunike

An Abuja Federal High Court has okayed the hearing of a motion seeking an order compelling the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to release the details contained in the Asset Declaration Form of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu.

The motion of notice which was filed by an applicant, Hon. Emmanuel Agonsi, concerning the suit was scheduled for hearing, Monday by the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho and the hearing notice has accordingly been issued to the parties involved.

According to the reports by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Agonsi sued the CCB and the INEC Chairman as 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively, through his lawyer, Solomon Okon Akpe.

In a motion on notice, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/33/2021, dated January 24 and filed January 25, Agonsi sought an Order of Mandamus, ‘directing and compelling the 1st respondent (CCB), either by its staff, officers, privies, servants or otherwise howsoever described to issue, comply with and/or make available to the Applicant or his privies or Counsel, information and details of the Assets Declarations Forms of the 2nd Respondent and his unmarried adult children kept by the 1st Respondent as requested in the Applicant’s letter of 17th December 2020; as well as accept payment of the appropriate fees from the Applicant forthwith”.

The applicant also further sought an Order of Mandamus seeking that the first respondent should henceforth produce certified copies of the Assets Declaration Forms of the INEC Chairman and his children who are yet to be married, submitted to the CCB Between 2007 and 2012 when he was still Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the same thing goes for when he was INEC Chairman between 2015 and 2020 including other ones declared thereafter.

On that note, he sought the following reliefs: ‘A declaration that the first respondent has a statutory and public duty to furnish the applicant information and details concerning the second respondent as contained in the applicant’s letter of request dated December 17, 2020.’

‘A declaration that the refusal or failure of the first respondent to respond to or comply with the applicant’s request as contained in his letter dated December 17, 2020 constitutes a refusal/failure of the 1st respondent’s statutory and/or public duty to the applicant, and is therefore unlawful, illegal, abuse of powers, abuse of discretion and ultra vires.’

Alternatively, the plaintiff applied for a court order, ‘directing the 1st Respondent, either by itself, officer, staff or nominee to forthwith produce for the examination of this Honourable Court, certified copies of the Assets Declaration Forms of the 2nd Respondent (Prof Yakubu) and his unmarried adult children submitted to the 1st Respondent for the period of 2007- 2012 and 2015-2020 and any other ones declared thereafter’.

In the meantime, the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho has given the directive that all relevant court processes and hearing notices should be served to both the CCB and the INEC Chairman.

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