Reps Fracas: Court Orders reinstatement Of Suspended Reps
ABUJA, Dec 02, (THEWILL) - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja today ordered the immediate recall of suspended federal legislators following the last House fracas and declared as unlawful their indefinite suspension.
The Six members of the House of Representatives are Honourables Dino Melaye; Independence Ogunnewe; Solomon Ahwinahwi; Bitrus Kaze; Abbas Anas Adamu and Austin Nwachukwu. The court assumed jurisdiction of the case and ruled that legislative immunity does not cover Constitutional violations as the plaintiffs were suspended without due process guaranteed to them by the constitution. The Court also said that to allow the suspension of the plaintiffs to stand would amount to shortening their tenure of office. The court declared the action of the Speaker and the House of Representatives as the “tyranny of the majority which cannot be justified in law.” Mr. Femi Falana represented the Plaintiff. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and the House of Representatives were represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and Mr Yusuf Alli (SAN), respectively. THEWILL recalls that the plaintiffs submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on June 21, 2010, raising serious allegations of corruption against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and some legislators. Barely 24 hours later, the House decided to conduct an inquisition into the action of the Plaintiffs for allegedly scandalizing Mr. Bankole. Thus, in the proceedings of the House of Representatives of June 22, 2010 presided over by Mr. Bankole, the Plaintiffs were beaten up and removed from the Chamber of the House. In their absence, they were tried, found guilty and placed on indefinite suspension by the Defendants. Dissatisfied with the decision of the House, the Plaintiffs decided to file originating summons before the Federal High Court in Abuja. The plaintiffs asked the court for the following reliefs: “A DECLARATION that the purported suspension of the Plaintiffs from the House of Representatives throughout the Legislative session commencing from June 22, 2010 is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates Section 68 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. “A DECLARATION that the purported suspension of the Plaintiffs from the House of Representatives throughout the remaining Legislative year commencing from the 22nd of June 2010 under Section 24 of the Legislative Houses (Power and Privileges) Act (Cap L 12) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2002 is illegal and unconstitutional, as it violates the Fundamental Right of the Plaintiffs to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (CAP A9) LFN 2004. “A DECLARATION that the purported suspension of the Plaintiffs from the House of Representatives throughout the remaining Legislative year commencing on June 22, 2010 under Order V, Rules 1 & 2, Order xvii Rule 7(3) (c) (d) of the standing orders of the House of Representatives is illegal and unconstitutional as its violates the fundamental right of the Plaintiffs to freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (CAP A9)Law of federal Republic of Nigeria 2004. “AN ORDER setting aside the purported suspension of the Plaintiffs from the House of Representatives as reflected in the 2nd Defendant’s votes and proceedings of Tuesday, June 22, 2010 forthwith”.