The Senate has concluded plans to appeal a Federal High Court judgement that declared the suspension of a senator, Ali Ndume, illegal. The court had also ordered that Mr. Ndume be paid all his outstanding salaries and allowances.
The position of the Senate was conveyed in a statement by its counsel, Mike Ozekhome, on Sunday.
The Senate had on March 30 suspended Mr. Ndume, who was former Majority Leader for 90 legislative days (six months).
Mr. Ndume was suspended for raising a matter that the Senate investigate public allegations of impropriety against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and another senator, Dino Melaye.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which investigated the matter recommended that Mr. Ndume be suspended for one year.
Mr. Ndume was subsequently suspended for six months for “bringing Melaye, his colleague, and the institution of the senate to unbearable disrepute” after the Senate adopted the report by the committee.
Mr. Ndume, not satisfied by the reason given for his suspension, headed to court to challenge the action of the senate.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Babatunde Quadri on Friday, the court set aside the suspension and ordered that Mr. Ndume be allowed to resume his duties in the senate as a senator.
Reacting to this, Mr. Ozekhome in the statement said the Senate will file an appeal on Monday.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will on Monday, November 13, 2017, file an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, delivered today, 10th of November, 2017,” the statement reads.
“It is important to state clearly that the Senate respectfully disagrees with the said judgment.
“For the records, 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.”
He added that the appeal will be followed by a stay of execution of the High Court judgement.
“The notice of 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.”