…Orders Payment Of His Salaries, Allowances
By Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja
Senator Ali Ndume’s suspension from the Senate has been voided by a Federal High Court in Abuja in a ruling delivered by Justice Babatunde Quadri.
The Senate had on March 30, 2017 suspended Ndume, a senator representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly and former Majority Leader, for 90 legislative days for not “conducting due diligence” before filing a petition against Senate President Bukola Saraki and the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye. Ndume was indicted “for bringing Senator Dino Melaye, his colleagues, and the institution of the Senate to unbearable disrepute.”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, made the recommendation for Ndume’s suspension inå its report, which was considered by the lawmakers at plenary.
Apparently miffed by his suspension, Ndume headed to court to challenge his six months suspension.
Defendants in the suit were the Senate president, the Senate and Senator Samuel Anyanwu.
Delivering ruling in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/551/2017 yesterday, Justice Quadri set aside the suspension and consequently ordered Ndume’s reinstatement to the Senate.
The court declared the suspension illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“The purported suspension contained in the letter of 30th March, 2017 is hereby set aside. The 1st and 2nd defendants are hereby directed
to pay the plaintiff his outstanding salaries and allowances forthwith,” the court held.
However, the court declined to grant relief No. 5, which prayed for an order for the payment of N500million to Ndume as general, exemplary and aggravated damages he incurred as a result of the suspension.
“Relief No. 5 is hereby refused because I hope this will facilitate reconciliation in the Senate between the plaintiff and other members of the Senate and bring peace to our nascent democracy and all senators will hold sacrosanct their standing order, rule of law and by extension the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Justice Quadri stated.
Consequently, he did not make any order as to cost.
The court declared that Ndume’s suspension was done in violation of Sections 68 and 69 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 13(1) of the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In a 31-paragraph affidavit in support of his originating motion deposed to by Senator Ndume, the lawmaker averred that on March 21, 2017, pursuant to Orders 14 and 15 of the extant Senate Standing
Orders (as amended), he drew the attention of the Senate to media insinuations already published online by Sahara Reporters and Daily Post and Punch Newspaper respectively.
The insinuations or allegations Ndume pointed out were that Senator Dino Melaye did not complete his first degree programme at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and that the invitation of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), by the Senate was informed by the seizure of a bullet proof SUV vehicle belonging to the Senate President, and attempt to clear same with fictitious documents, which he had wanted the Senate to institute an inquiry to ascertain their veracity.