Senior lawyers blast NASS as AGF writes Saraki over Akwa Ibom senatorial tussle
– A senior has called on the Senate President Abubakar Saraki to obey court orders on a senate sacked by the Supreme Court
– The senior lawyer said it is illegal for a sacked senator to still occupy a position in the Nigerian Senate
– The attorney general of the federation has also written a letter to Saraki to swear in Bassey Etim who worn at the Supreme Court against Bassey Akpan of the Akwa Ibom North-East district
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ikechukwu Ezechukwu has called for the swearing in of all senators who have won elections in several courts in Nigeria.
The senior lawyer said it is illegal for any legislator removed by a court judgement to remain in the Senate.
Ezechukwu also said that the acts amounts to disobedience of court order by the Senate and the individuals in question.
NAIJ.com gathered that the senior lawyer while reacting to various courts’ judgement on the Taraba Senatorial seat, Benue House of Representatives and the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial district all orders must be obeyed by the representative legislatures.
Ezechukwu said there is no reversal especially on the Supreme Court’s decision on a matter.
He said the refusal by the Senate President Bukola Saraki to swear in the individual who has won at the Apex court is tantamount to disobedience of court order.
The senior lawyer said: “In a pre-election Judgement, Supreme Court declares that Until the Judgement is set aside by a superior court of records, that Judgement remains valid and binding. This justifies the principle of rule of law and separation of powers, as Senate cannot constitute itself into appellate court.”
In the same vein, Abuja-based human rights activist and constitutional lawyer Nkereuwem Akpan said Saraki has refused to swear in Bassey Etim over some ‘flimsy’ excuse is a violation of his oath of office.
Akpan said: “The principal officers of both houses of the NASS owe themselves a duty of ensuring that they do not collude with sitting members of Parliament to subvert the cause of justice otherwise they would be personally liable for such gross violation of their oath of office and of allegiance to the 1999 constitution.”
He added that Senator Abubakar Danladi of Taraba State and Benue State Representative Herman Hembe’s sack by the Supreme Court is final.
He said it will be hypocritical and immoral of the Senate President to disrespect the ruling of the court.
“It is against the spirit and letter of the 1999 constitution for anyone, no matter how highly placed, to ignore and or refuse to obey a valid order of court,” he said. Noting that in a pre-election matter, appeal does not operate as a stay, particularly as the Court who delivered the Judgement has since dismissed the application for stay of execution filed by the ousted senator,” Akpan said.
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“Mr Bassey Akpan, the embattled senator in several attempt to retain seat in the senate, filed an originating summon at a Federal High Court, Abuja seeking injunction to restrain Saraki not to swear in Etim, but The Court declined.
“Numerous legal luminaries saw this suit as not just abuse of court process but a tone for anarchy as it will amount to another Federal High Court sitting on Appeal over its judgement. Saraki delays in swearing in Etim appears that what Court refuse to grant the sacked Senator, Saraki is dishing out without mindful of the fact that court had void Akpan’s Certificate of Return,” he said.
However, reacting to the rulings of the courts, the attorney general of the federation and the minister of justice Abubakar Malami has written a letter to the Senate President.
Malami in his letter referenced MJ/LIT/ABJ/MOC/112/17 called on Saraki to honour the judgement if the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo Akwa Ibom state.
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He also urged the Senate President to swear in Etim as the Senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East Senatorial district at the Eight Senate.
The letter reads in part: “The Senate of NASS is therefore required to comply with the judgment in suit no FHC/UY/CS/1087/2015 between Hon. Bassey Etim and People’s Democratic Party & 2ors by swearing in Hon. Bassey Etim as the Senator representing Akwa-Ibom North-East Senatorial district in the Senate of the NASS.”
NAIJ.com had reproted that a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state ordered Bassey Akpan to vacate his seat as the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East.
The court in its ruling on February 17, said Akpan should vacate immediately while the Independent National Electoral Commission withdraws the certificate of return issued to him.
The court also awarded a N200,000 fine in favour of the plaintiff Bassey Etim who will take over the Senatorial seat from Akpan.
You can watch this NAIJ.com video of Nigerian lamenting the administration of the All progressives Congress:
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