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Joint sitting: Reps can sue Senate …. Court

By Luka Binniyat & Tordue Salem

ABUJA—There is a judicial buffer to the budget crisis rocking the National Assembly, as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled that the House of Representatives can seek the court’s interpretation of the relevant sections of the Constitution.

Members of the House of Representatives under the auspices of the ‘Initiatives” had gone to court after a Joint Committee on Constitution Review (JCCR) was split in Minna, Niger State over the two chamber’s disagreement co-chairmanship.

Joined as defendants in the suit were the Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House, Dimeji Bankole and the National Assembly Service Commission.

While the Senate insisted that the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu should be the chairman of the JCCR, the House argued that the deputy speaker, Usman Bayero Nafada should co-chair the JCCR with his senate counterpart.

The Initiatives led by the spokesman of the House Rep. Eseme Eyiboh, and five others had sought to affirm the equality of both houses of the National Assembly by virtue of section 4 of the 1999 Constitution.

They also sought the court to declare that the JCCR was not a joint sitting of the NASS as stipulated in section 53 (2) of the Constitution for the purpose of determining the appropriate officer that will preside over the proceedings and functions of the committee.


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