Judge returns ex-Gov Yari’s property seizure case file for re-assignment

Gov. Abdulazizi-Yari
Immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazizi-Yari

Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday returned the case file of the immediate past Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for fresh reassignment.

Ms Maha returned the case file following indications that her court would not be able to complete hearing in Mr Yari’s fundamental rights suit by September 13 when the court’s annual vacation comes to an end.

The court vacation began on July 8 and will end on September 13, while normal court activities are expected to resume on September 16.

During the court session on Thursday, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Hussaina Gambo, informed the court that she was just served the reply of the applicant and as such would need time to look at it and respond on point of law if the need arises.

Ms Gambo then prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable her to do so.

Mr Yari’s lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, objected to the adjournment, saying the suit requires accelerated hearing being a fundamental human rights suit

But the judge insisted that the matter could not proceed.

In a short ruling, Justice Maha said her sitting as a vacation judge would expire on September 13 and she would not be able to hear and determine the matter fully before that date.

She then ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge for reassignment to another judge.

Ms Maha, however, ordered all parties in the suit to continue to respect the rule of law pending the conclusion of the matter.

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Background

Mr Yari, whose residence was raided on August 26 by the anti-graft agency, had approached the court, praying it to order EFCC to stop its investigation into allegations of fraud against him.

Mr Yari in his motion ex parte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/948/2019, prayed the court to restrain the government from freezing his bank accounts or seizing any of his properties pending the hearing and determination of his suit challenging the action of the government.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and the EFCC are respondents in the suit.

The matter has been adjourned to September 30.

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