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Again, N'Assembly Dares Jonathan On Constitution Amendments

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…As Supreme Court Makes U-turn On Case
BEVERLY HILLS, May 22, (THEWILL) – The face-off between the National Assembly and President Goodluck Jonathan over the threat of the former to override the latter's veto on the Fourth Alteration Bill for the amendment of the constitution appears yet to be over.

With just a few days to the end of the present Jonathan Administration, both parties seem to be set for a final battle on the matter.

This new development is coming even as the Supreme Court also made a U-turn on the case, deciding to re-list it for hearing on Monday following a fresh application by the counsel to the National Assembly, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).

The apex court which had earlier adjourned the matter to June 19 when the tenure of the current National Assembly would have lapsed has now reschedule the ‎hearing of the case to Monday, May 25.

The new hearing notice, copy of which was obtained by THEWILL, states : “Take notice that the above motion will be listed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting at Abuja on Monday ‎25th day of May 2015.

“And further take notice that in accordance with Order 2 Rule 1(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1985, as amended, this notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is left at your address for service or sent by registered post and since the date of service by post is material, section 26 of the Interpretation Act, 1c64 shall apply.”

In the fresh application, the National Assembly is praying the Supreme Court to discharge the interlocutory orders of injunction made on May 7, 2015 which stopped the lawmakers from overriding the president’s veto.

Counsel to the National Assembly, Awomolo, is praying the court to dismiss the originating summons filed by the Attorney General of the Federation on the grounds that:

“The originating summons dated ‎22nd April 2015 is incompetent, fundamentally and incurably defective and thereby robs the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction.

“There is no known or reasonable cause of action disclosed in the originating summons to ground jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

“The originating summons filed by the plaintiff is an improper and or reckless invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.”

Awomolo further argued that the AGF was not competent to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under the Supreme Court (additional jurisdiction) Act.

Awomolo, while urging the court to hear the application, argued that the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 6, 2011 for a term of four years and that the four years lifespan of the 7th National Assembly would terminate on June 6, 2015 and the case would therefore become abated.

According to him, “It is in the interest of justice and the good people of Nigeria that this suit be given expeditious hearing and determination.”

It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier stopped the National Assembly from going ahead to override the President's veto by passing into law the Fourth Alteration Act which seeks to amend the 1999 constitution.

The court had ordered the two parties to maintain the status quo on the matter as it consequently adjourned the suit to June 18 when a new government would have come on board and the tenure of present National Assembly would have ended.