By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari has quashed the summon that was issued by an Abuja Area Court for Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who is an aspirant for the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to appear before it on June 10.
The high court, in a ruling by Justice Othman Musa, ordered the Area Court at Karshi in Abuja, to stay action in whatsoever manner, on any case involving Gbajabiamila.
It directed the Area Court judge, Hon. Anas Isah Mohammed,to within seven days, transmit certified record of proceedings before him.
Justice Musa made the orders after he heard an ex-parte motion the embattled lawmaker filed to challenge the summon that was extended to him by the Area Court.
According to the high court judge, “Where at any stage of proceedings before final judgment in any cause or matter in an Area Court, a person alleges that he is not subject to the jurisdiction of Area Court, the proceedings shall, on the application of that person to the High Court, be transferred to the High Court, which shall inquire into and determine the truth of the person’s allegation.
“It is for the reasons advanced above that I proceed to grant the application as follows:
“Leave is hereby granted to the Applicant to apply for judicial review for the issuance of an Order of Certiorari to remove the whole proceedings, orders, pending applications and the entire record of Hon. Anas Isah Mohammad in Grade 1 Area Court of the FCT, Holden in Karshi in charge number: CR/349/2019 and Motion No: M/19/2019 between African Peoples Party (APP) Vs. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila (AKA Femi Gbaja) into this court for the purposes of being quashed by way of judicial review.
“It is further ordered by virtue of Section 12(1) of the Federal Capital Territory Area Court Act and Order 44 Rule 3(6)(a) that the leave so granted above shall operate as a stay of further action or proceedings by the respondents; particularly the proceedings in Grade 1 Area Court (Coram Hon. A.I Mohammed) the 2nd Respondents in this application, in CR/349/2019 is hereby stayed.
“It is ordered that the 2nd Respondent(the Area Court judge) either by himself or the registrar of the Lower Area Court, is to transmit a certified record of proceedings of the lower court into this court or make same available to the applicant upon payment of the required fee within 7 days from the service of this order.”
The case was subsequently adjourned to June 20 for definite hearing at the high court.
Gbajabiamila had dragged the African Peoples Party, APP, and the Area Court judge, Mohammed, before the high court, challenging what he described as an illegal summon that was issued against him.
The APP had among other things, insisted that he was not fit to contest to lead the 9th House of Representatives as its Speaker.