Court to Hear Application to Stop Enforcement of Judgment Removing Abia Governor July 7

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed July 7, 2016, to hear the motion for stay of execution of his judgement that removed Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu from office.

The motion praying the court to stay the judgement was filed by Ikpeazu through his counsel led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) who led other senior advocates.‎

At the sitting of the court on Monday, Justice Abang who was scheduled to hear the motion in court fixed hearing for July 7.

The judge said he would also determine whether issues relating to the grant of stay in the case of election petition apply to the instant case which is a pre-election matter.

He urged parties in the matter to file an exchange necessary processes before the adjourned date so as to facilitate early hearing of the motion.

Ikpeazu had in the motion asked Justice Abang to put the judgment which removed him from office on hold pending the determination of his appeal filed against the judgment of the court at the Court of Appeal.

He told the court that the appeal had been entered at the appellate court and that necessary steps would be taken to facilitate quick determination of the appeal.

The judge had on June 27 ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office with immediate effect.

Justice Abang, in his ruling also ordered the governor to hand over to Mr. Samson Ogah, owner of Masters Energy, who came second in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in the state.

The judge further ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to Ogah who contested the governorship ticket with Ikpeazu.

The court held Ikpeazu did not submit proper tax certificates and was therefore not qualified to have contested the 2015 governorship election in the state, which held in April 2015.

Two members of the PDP had accused Ikpeazu of failing to pay Personal Income Tax as and when due for 2010 and 2011 in line with Section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen to declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”

In the suit dated December 22, 2014 and instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Obasi Eke and Chukwuemeka Mba, had asked the PDP and INEC to disqualify Ikpeazu from contesting the governorship election.

The plaintiffs contended that Ikpeazu was not fit and proper, having failed to pay his personal income tax for two years in line with the demand of the Constitution of Nigeria.

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