A former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has urged a Federal High Court, Lagos to quickly release it’s ruling to him so he can appeal the order of arrest raised against him by the court.
Justice Ibrahim Buba had on February 8, directed security agencies to arrest Ekpemupolo and held that the warrant issued for his arrest still subsists.
His prayers were contained in a statement released yesterday by one of his counsels, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, urging Justice Buba to intervene to enable Tomopolo have a copy of the ruling.
Tompolo’s lead counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), had argued an application on behalf of Tompolo to set aside the warrant of arrest issued against him.
But the judge delivered a bench ruling, dismissing the application and issued a fresh warrant for Tompolo’s arrest.Adegboruwa said they had immediately applied for a certified true copy of the ruling, with a view to studying it and advising Tompolo on possible chances of an appeal.
“But the lawyers have met a brick wall in the court, without any success in obtaining the said ruling,” he stated.
According to him, by law, Tompolo has 14 days within which to appeal against the ruling, which lapses on February 22.The case was adjourned till Friday.
“It would seem that the court is giving preferential treatment to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the case. For example, on January 12, 2016, the EFCC filed an application for substituted service on Tomopolo.
“The judge heard the application on the same day and granted it. The order was enrolled almost immediately and the case was heard on January 14, 2016. A bench warrant was issued against Tompolo, all in less than seven days,” Adegboruwa said.Yesterday, Adegboruwa expressed his frustrations, saying it was necessary to appeal to the judge to intervene because of the limited time for Tompolo to exercise his right of appeal.
According to Adegboruwa, Justice Buba reminded him when he made the appeal in the open court that the ruling was only delivered on February 8 and that he had a backlog of judgments and rulings to deliver.
The judge, he said, said the ruling was being typed and would soon be ready, adding that he would prefer that administrative matters be dealt within chambers and not in the open court, so as not to interrupt proceedings.