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Defection: Ex-APC Senators ask court to abort moves to impeach Saraki

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Two former All Progressive Congress, APC, Senators, Rafiu Adebayo and Isa Misau, on Monday, approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, asking it to abort any attempt to forcefully impeach the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki from office without recourse to due process of the law.

The two lawmakers who are representing Kwara South and Bauchi Central, respectively, alleged that some chieftains of their former party, APC, led by its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomohole and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, have perfected plans to use security agencies to force Saraki to vacate his position as the Senate President.

Consequently, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Mahmoud Magaji, SAN, applied for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping any impeachment proceeding against Saraki, pending the determination of legal issues they posed before the court.

Cited as defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018, were the Senate, the Senate President, Dr. Saraki, the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ahmed Lawal (Senate Leader), Senator Bala Ibn Nallah (Deputy Senate Leader), Senator Emma Buacha (Deputy Minority Leader), Clerk of the Senate and Deputy Clerk of the Senate.

Other defendants are the AGF, Mr. Malami, SAN, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the Department of State Service, DSS.

In a 13 paragraphed affidavit that was personally deposed to by Senator Misau, he told the court that the APC is collaborating with key security agencies and the AGF to ensure that Saraki’s removal, notwithstanding the number of Senators in his support.

According to him, “Unless the Defendants and their agents are restrained by this Honourable Court from taking the law into their hands, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would not only be breached and violated by the Defendants but would also plunge the entire Country into a constitutional and social crisis of immense magnitude”.

The plaintiffs told the court that they defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, owing to internal crisis they said factionalised the ruling party.

They prayed the court to among other things, determine, “Whether in view of the provisions of Section 50(l)(a)and(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who defected to another Political Party as a result of division in his former Political Party, can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with the provisions of Section 50(2) of the Constitution?

“Whether by a combined reading of Section 50(l)(a)and(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Order 3 Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 (as amended), the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be compelled to vacate his office on the ground that he is not a member of the Political Party with maiority of Senators in the Senate?

“Whether by a combined reading of Section 50(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Order 3, Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 (as amended) the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2)(a) of the Constitution when he has not ceased to be a member of the Senate?

“Whether the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be said to have vacated his office as President of the Senate by virtue of Section 50(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the 8th Senate of which he is the President has not been dissolved?

“Whether the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be said to have vacated his office by virtue of section
50(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) when he has not been removed from office by the votes of not less than progressives majority of the members of the Senate?

“Whether in view of Section 50(2)(c) of the Constitution and the fact that the members of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are 109 in number, any number less than 72 out of the 109 members of the Senate can validly sit and remove the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria whether by impeachment or whatever name so called?”.

Upon determination of the questions, the plaintiffs prayed the court to declare that Saraki cannot be compelled to vacate his office on the ground that he is not a member of the Political Party with majority of Senators in the Senate.

They further applied for, “A declaration that the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2)(a) of the Constitution when he has not ceased to be a member of the Senate.

“A declaration that in view of Section 50(2)(c) and the fact that the members of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are 109 in number, any number less than 72 out of the 109 members of the Senate cannot validly sit and remove the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria whether by impeachment or whatever name so called”.

As well as “An order of this Honourable Court restraining the 9th, 10th and 11th Defendants, either by themselves, agents, servants, privies by whatsoever name so called from enforcing any act of the 1st, 3rd to 8th Defendants purporting to have removed the 2nd Defendant from office without such act being in compliance ‘with the provisions of Sections 50(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 199‘? (as amended)”.

Meantime, no date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.


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