OrderPaperToday – The Senate has said it will appeal a ruling of the court that ordered the reinstatement of suspended Sen. Ali Ndume and payment of his salaries in the period he was in suspension.
Recall that Ndume was suspended on March 27, 2017 for raising a matter of privilege at plenary which called for investigation into a media report of alleged failure of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki to pay duty of N74m for a Sports Utility (SUV) valued at N298m imported into the country.
His motion had also called for investigation of another report which accused Sen Dino Melaye (APC,Kogi) of certificate forgery.
The point of order referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions cleared the Saraki and Melaye of the charges but recommended the suspension of Ndume from the Senate.
However, a federal high court in Abuja on 10 November annulled the suspension describing it as an exhibition of lawlessness on the part of the Senate leadership.
According to the Judge, Babatunde Quadri, “the suspension of the plaintiff is hereby declared illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is hereby set aside”.
But in a statement, on 12th November by the red chamber’s chief counsel, Mike Ozekhome, the reinstatement of Sen.Ndume would be appealed against in addition to a stay of execution of the judgement.
The statement said: “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will on Monday, November 13, 2017, file an appeal against the ruling delivered by the Federal High Court on November 10, 2017.
“It is important to state clearly, that the Senate respectfully disagrees with the said judgment.
“The Senate had challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the matter on several grounds, portions of which are outlined hereunder for the purpose of emphasis, as follows:
“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.
“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 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.
“The notice to 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.”