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Court To Hear Suit Challenging Lawmakers’ Allowances Oct 29

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A Federal High Court in Lagos yesteday, ordered that hearing notices be issued and served on the National Assembly and others in a suit by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice President Monday Ubani.

Ubani and John Nwokwu, also a lawyer, are praying for an order, compelling Senators and House of Representatives members, to refund N13.5million and N10 million monthly running costs, which they allegedly collected in the last three years.

The lawyers are contending that the running cost is illegal as only the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) had the power to determine salaries and allowances of political office holders.

Attorney-General of the Federation, MAFC, the Senate and the House of Representatives are the respondents.

When the case was called on Tuesday, plaintiffs’ counsel Mr J. O. Igwe, told Justice Chuka Obiozor that the court’s sheriff failed to serve the defedants with the suit inspite of being “mobilised” about three weeks ago.

“We mobilised him three weeks ago and last week, he assured us that the proof of service was in court, but we got to court to discover that the defendants have not been served.

“In the circumstances, we are left with no choice than to ask for a further hearing date.” he said

The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, are asking the court to determine whether by relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly members have the power to fix their salaries, wages, remuneration or allowances.

The lawyers are asking the court to determine “whether RMAFC can delegate its power to determine the salaries or remuneration of the National Assembly or political office-holders and/or if such power is subject to usurpation by the National Assembly or any other body(ies).”

Ubani and Nwokwu are asking the court to determine whether the allocation of constituency projects and funds to the tune of N200 million the lawmakers is not ultra vires, illegal and unconstitutional.

They are asking for an order of perpetual injunction “restraining the National Assembly, whether by themselves, officers, or through any person howsoever, from further receiving the sum of N13.5 million monthly allowances or running cost or whatever sum as a running cost and N200million as annual constituency project.”

They are asking the court to order the refund of all the running costs they received since 2015 within 14 days of the judgment.

Justice Obiozor has adjourned until October  29 for hearing.

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