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Court strikes out suit seeking to stop Saraki’s impeachment
A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, struck out a suit seeking an order stopping alleged attempts to reconvene the Senate without the authorisation of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba struck out the suit instituted by two senators loyal to Saraki on the grounds of lack of diligent prosecution by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs were Rabiu Adebayo (Senator representing Kwara South) and Isa Misau (Senator representing Bauchi Central), both of whom, like Saraki, recently defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.
The plaintiffs had instituted the suit following the controversy surrounding the calls for the National Assembly to reconvene to consider the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Department of State Services and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, were among the 12 defendants listed in the case.
At the resumed hearing of the case marked FHC/ABJ/CS/843/2018 on Thursday, no lawyer appeared on behalf of the plaintiffs.
Consequently, the AGF who was represented by Mr. T. D. Agbe, urged the court to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution.
The AGF further prayed the court to award a cost of N10million against the plaintiffs who he accused of filing a frivolous suit.
He noted that the plaintiffs who were previously represented by a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria led by Mr. Mahmud Magaji and Emeka Etiaba, were aware that the matter was slated for hearing.
“We apply for a substantial cost to be awarded against the plaintiffs to teach them a lesson. This court is not a play ground, it is a place for serious business”, the AGF submitted.
Counsel to both the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kola Oluwole and that of the Department of State Service, Mr. Shimana Azeh, adopted the position of the AGF and requested that the case should be struck out.
In a short ruling, Justice Dimgba acceded to request of the Defendants and struck out the case for want of diligent prosecution.
The plaintiffs who are representing Kwara South and Bauchi Central, respectively, had alleged that some chieftains of their former party, APC, led by its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomohole and the AGF, had perfected plans to use security agencies to force Saraki to vacate his position as the Senate President.
In a 13 paragraphed affidavit that was personally deposed to by Senator Misau for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping any impeachment proceeding against Saraki, pending the determination of legal issues they posed before the court.
According to him, “Unless the Defendants and their agents are restrained by this Honourable Court from taking the law into their hands, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would not only be breached and violated by the Defendants but would also plunge the entire Country into a constitutional and social crisis of immense magnitude
“In view of the combined reading of sections 50(1) (a), 53(1) (a) and 60 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Rules 12 (2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended), the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has the powers to regulate its proceedings including the power to adjourned its sitting to a date certain?
“Having regards to sections 50(1) (a), 53(1) (a) and 60 of the ‘ Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) read in coniunction with Rules 12 (2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended), whether any member of the Senate other than the President and Deputy President of the Senate can re-assemble the sitting of the Senate to an earlier or later date other than the adiourned date?
“Whether by virtue of the provision of the Rules 12(1), (2) and (3) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended), it is the Senate President or in his absence the Deputy President of Senate that is vested with the exclusive powers to convene and give notice of the meeting of the Senate at any earlier date before or during the period of recess/break of the Senate, ending on the 25th September, 2018.
“Whether on a proper interpretation of Rule 12 paragraph 2 of the Senate Standing Order 2015 (as amended), the leaders of a single political party can validly direct the Senate President to reconvene the Senate sitting on an earlier date other than the date fixed for resumption of Plenary/ Sitting by the President of the Senate.
“Whether by virtue of the provisions of sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria I999 (as amended), the Defendants other than the 2nd and 3rd (Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu) are statutorily empowered to issue directives to the lst, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to reconvene the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria after same was properly adjourned in accordance with the extant laws of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”