BY AHURAKA ISAH AND SOLOMON AYADO, Abuja –
Senate yesterday said it is not satisfied with the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja nullifying the suspension of former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, from the Senate, saying it has earlier contested the jurisdiction of that court to adjudicate on the matter.
In a statement signed by lawyer to the Senate, Mike Ozokhome (SAN), the upper chamber hinted that it will file an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, delivered on Friday 10th of November, 2017.
‘’The notice of appeal is ready and would be filed unfailingly by Monday morning. An application for a stay of execution of the orders of the court will also be filed same time,’’ Ozokhome stated.
According to a source in the Senate, a motion shall be moved on Tuesday extending the resumption of Senator Ndume who is due to resume on Wednesday.
“The intention of the senate to file notice of appeal on Monday as well as filiong stay of execution of the court judgement is to ensure Ndume won’t be allowed to resume on Wednesday.
“Besides, Senate spokesman, Senator Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu had earlier advised Ndume to withdraw his suit against the senate last September otherwise the upper chamber would contest decisions of the courts to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
Ndume’s suit against the senate institution is a misplaced one, highly ill-advised, just as the judgement of the court was badly ill-timed. Remember that the clerk of the senate has already written him asking him to resume on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. The court judgement could as well have come after that resumption day’’, the source said.
Justice Babatunde Quadri had held last Friday that Ndume’s suspension was illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
It consequently set aside the suspension letter, dated March 30, this year, and issued to the Borno South senatorial district’s representative by the senate.
The court also ordered the president of the senate and the senate, who were the first and the second respondents in the suit filed by Ndume, to pay him all outstanding salaries and allowances.
Ndume had approached the court following his suspension from the senate for a total of 90 legislative days, for what it described as “not conducting due diligence before filing a petition against the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye.”
Ndume was also indicted “for bringing Melaye, his colleagues and the institution of the senate to unbearable disrepute,” as contained in the report submitted by the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu.
Justice Quadri held that “The suspension of the plaintiff is hereby declared illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. The purported suspension contained in the letter of March 30, 2017, is hereby set aside’’/
Meanwhile, Ozokhome stated that ‘’It is important to state clearly, that the Senate respectfully disagrees with the said judgment.
‘’For the records, the Senate had challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the matter on the grounds that the Plaintiff wrongly joined several causes of action in his Originating Summons.
‘’That an action for the enforcement of fundamental rights to fair hearing can only be brought against a court or a tribunal, established by law as held by the Supreme Court in several current cases, and not against Committee of a legislative body.
Besides, ‘’that by the provisions of sections 3 and 30 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, the trial court lacked requisite jurisdiction to hear the suit of the Plaintiff.
‘’The Senate’s argument was supported by various and current decisions of the apex court. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which has the strong conviction that the decision of the trial court will be overturned by the Court of Appeal, has accordingly instructed the law firm of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers, to file an appeal against the judgment immediately’’, Ozokhome stated.
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