Justice Kunaza Hamidu of the Bauchi High Court has quashed a suit filed by the state government for the arrest of former Gov. Ahmed Muazu. Delivering judgment in Bauchi weekend, Hamidu said the ex-parte motion filed by the government against Muazu lacked merit and struck out the case.
He said that granting an order to arrest Muazu ought to be exercised in a substantive case before the court. Hamidu averred that the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) stipulates that the arrest of an accused person could only be exercised when the court believed that the accused had absconded or would not obey court summons.
He said an affidavit of service tendered as exhibit before the court which states that “all efforts made to serve Mauza proved abortive because his security personnel and thugs refused to allow the bailiff to go near him,” was contrary to the code.
“To my mind, this cannot be said to be an affidavit of service because the bailiff did not depose to service of any kind in compliance with the code.“The affidavit failed to comply with the CPC as the application for order of arrest was not accompanied with duplicate of the summons purported to have been served the accused,” he said.
Hamidu stressed that G.O. Okafor (SAN), the counsel to the state government, failed to refer the court to any provision of the law or judicial precedence which allowed such application in a criminal matter.
“It was held in Leedo VS Bank of the North (1998) that application for order of arrest can be made where from the nature of the application the interest of the adverse party (Muazu) will not be affected.
“It could also be made when time is the essence of the application, as in Attamah VS Anglican Bishop (1999) where the court may rightly exercise its discretion by granting a motion ex-parte.
“But where the motion will affect the interest of the adverse party, a court of law should insist and order that the adverse party be put on notice,” Hamidu stated.
He said that in the present circumstance, the prayer by the state government asking the court to order for the arrest of Muazu would affect the interest of Muazu.
The judge recalled that Muazu was charged with three others but wondered why no mention was made of the other three accused persons who were served to appear before the court but failed.
He struck out the case and adjourned hearing on the substantive suit pending before it to Jan. 17.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Muazu was charged to court following the findings of a judicial commission of inquiry constituted by Gov. Isa Yuguda to probe alleged financial misappropriation by Muazu while in office.
Those charged with Muazu are Muhammad Hassan, Uba Nana and Aminu Garu, former chairmen of Katagum, Warji and Bauchi local government councils.
They were accused of conspiracy, theft, criminal breach of trust, criminal mismanagement and deceit, contrary to the penal code.
They were alleged to have used their offices to convert, embezzle and misappropriated funds entrusted under their care by the state government to the tune of N522.32 million.