The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday refused to grant 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 (SPIPRRP) had on behalf of the Federal Government urged the court to order the arrest of Ekweremadu following the failure of the senator to appear before it on Wednesday on charges of non-declaration of assets.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. 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 stressed that the summons for the scheduled arraignment had been served on the Deputy Senate President but he chose to ignore it. He therefore applied for a bench warrant to be issued against Ekweremadu.

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

Citing some Supreme Court decisions to back his argument, Awomolo emphasized that without first resolving the application, the matter could not proceed to the stage of arraignment.

Ekweremadu’s property targeted for interim forfeiture by the Federal Government are nine houses in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, two in London, eight in Dubai and three in Florida in the United States.