Proposed Constitution Amendments: FG Writes Mark, Insists Supreme Court Must Determine Legality
BEVERLY HILLS, April 23, (THEWILL) – As the cold war between the Federal Government and the National Assembly over the proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution continues, the Federal Government, Thursday, formally sent a letter to the Senate President, David Mark, over the matter.
The letter, written on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) by Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), was to inform Mark of the suit filed by the Federal Government at the Supreme Court, challenging the legality of the proposed amendments .
The letter also asked the Senate President to draw the attention of the House of Representatives to the pending suit.
In the letter, the Federal Government insisted that the Supreme Court must be allowed to determine the issues it raised in the suit.
The letter read in part: “In view of this development and the dictates of the principles of the rule of law on which any democratic system thrives, we use this medium to urge that the Supreme Court be allowed to determine the suit under reference before any further step is taken by the National Assembly on the move to pass the Fourth Alteration Act alluded to earlier in this correspondence into law.
“May we add that adopting such attitude will not only commendably be in line with the decisions of the Supreme Court on the absolute need to avoid self-help by all persons and authorities in resolving disputes, but will also yield to the rule of law as espoused in the decisions of the courts. One of such decisions is the case of OJUKWU V. MILITARY GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE (1986) 1 NWLR (pt. 18) 621.
“To proceed with the process of passage into law of the Fourth Alteration Act 2015 despite the pendency of this suit under reference will be an affront to the rule of law and democracy. We are convinced, particularly from the commendable record so far of the current National Assembly that it will not do that.”
In the originating summons of the suit, the Federal Government is asking the apex court to nullify the amendments proposed by the National Assembly on the grounds among others that the amendments violated the constitution being proposed to be amended.
Also in the suit, the Federal Government is praying the court to determine two questions on the constitutionality or otherwise of the procedure adopted by the National Assembly in passing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Act 2015 particularly as it relates to Sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 purporting to alter Sections 8, 9, 34, 35, 39, 40, 42, 45, 58, 84, 150, 174 and 211 of the extant 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and for an order nullifying and setting aside those Sections of the Fourth Alteration Act.