Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, refused to grant a motion ex-parte brought by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, seeking to stop the National Assembly from probing the reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina into the civil service.
Maina’s re-instatement had continued to generate controversy in the country.
Maina had been on suspension over alleged fraud.
Malami, the AGF had been alleged to have been the one who wrote a letter to the Head of Civil Service recommending Maina’s reinstatement.
The Senate had in October 24, 2017, mandated its committees on Public Service, Internal Affairs, Anti-Corruption, Establishment and Judiciary to probe the circumstances of Maina’s return to the public service.
The House of Representatives had on its own commenced probe into the recall.
Malami had when he appeared before the panel of the lower legislative chamber in November denied his involvement in Maina’s recall.
Justice Nyako refused to grant the ex-parte application which was heard in chambers.
She ordered the AGF to put the respondents on notice, so as to come and show cause why the application should not be granted.
The court later fixed January 15 for hearing.
In the suit, the AGF is asking the court to determine if the National Assembly has the right to probe issues relating to the “employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant.”
He equally wants the court to among other things declare that: “The employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant are matters outside the exclusive and concurrent legislative lists contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”
Malami also wants the court to declare that the National Assembly cannot legitimately regulate the employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant, which are matters exclusively within the purview of the Federal Civil Service Commission under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 (as amended).
He also prays the court to declare that the National Assembly lacks the legislative competence to investigate the employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant which are matters exclusively within the purview of the Federal Civil Service Commission under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 (as amended).
The AGF submitted that the power of investigation vested the National Assembly by section 88 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is limited and such that can only be exercised within the confines of Section 88 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
According to him, the plaintiff as the Chief Law Officer and Minister of Justice of the Federation is bound to ensure compliance by the Federal Government of Nigeria and or any of its cognate organs/agencies with the express or implied contents of extant Judgments and Orders of competent courts in Nigeria.
He further submitted that the National Assembly cannot constitute itself into a quasi-appellate court, tribunal or panel with a view to reviewing any executive action taken in compliance with the adverse judgment in the said Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2013.
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