Law News
Court threatens to jail YDP chiefs over judgment misrepresentation

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave officials of the Youth Democratic Party 24 hours to address a press conference, retracting the misrepresentation of his judgment delivered on March 4, 2015.

The court had, in the March 4 judgment, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to register ‎YDP as a political party but the party officials went ahead to tell the press that the court also ordered that the party be allowed to participate in the forthcoming elections or postpone the exercise.

Justice Mohammed, who also on Monday, ordered the party officials to file an affidavit of compliance, threatened to jail them if they failed to carry out his directives.

The judge had, on March 12, when INEC’s application for stay of execution of the judgment was slated for hearing, ordered the summons of the party officials, to appear in court on Monday, to explain how they came about the court pronouncement ordering their inclusion in the polls.

‎Justice Mohammed, in a bench ruling after listening to the party’s counsel, Kelvin Nwofo (SAN), and INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Wole Balogun, on Monday held that a case of contempt had been established against the party officials from the two affidavits filed by them.

He however held that because the court was not out to unnecessarily join issues with anybody and that in view of plea for mercy by the party’s lawyer, he would “reluctantly temper justice with mercy.”

The judge said, ‎”It is clear that the court did not order to include them in the ballot papers or to shift the

‎”The case of contempt is clearly established in the circumstances of this case and learned senior counsel for the plaintiff has pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy and to forgive the plaintiff’s officials.

“This court is not out to unnecessarily join issues with anyone least od all the officials of the plaintiff, Young Democratic Party.

“It is on that premise that I will reluctantly temper justice with mercy in this matter subject to the following conditions:

“(i) The officials of the plaintiff shall within 24 hours from now call a national press conference and debunk or retract the misrepresentation made against the order of this court that was delivered on March 4, 2015.

“(ii) The officials of the plaintiff shall file an affidavit in court for compliance with paragraph (i) of this order.

“In case of failure to comply with the court’s directive herein, this court will not hesitate to commit to prison, the affected officials of the plaintiff (YDP) on the next return date since evidence of contempt has been established.”

The judge then adjourned the matter till March 31.

Justice Mohammed had said on March 12 that the court was embarrassed by the claim of the party officials at a press conference.

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