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Published On: Wed, Aug 29th, 2018

Court cautions against unconstitutional removal of Saraki

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By Vivian Okejeme Abuja

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of Abuja Division of Federal High Court, yesterday, warned against any move aimed at unlawfully removing the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki from office, pending the determination of a suit filed by some senators in that regards.
The two lawmakers, Senator Rafiu Adebayo of Kwara South and Senator Isa Misau of Bauchi Central, instituted a motion against the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF) and Minister of Justice, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the State Security Services (SSS).
The Plaintiffs are asking the court to restrain the defendants from aiding the forceful removal or impeachment of the Senate President from office.
When the matter came up for hearing, yesterday, Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Emeka Etiaba SAN, informed the court that he had, pursuant to Order 26 of the federal high court civil procedure rule, filed a motion exparte, dated August 27, 2018 and filed same day.
Specifically, the exparte motion is asking for an order of interim injunction (in reliefs 1, 2, and 3), restraining the defendants from taking any untoward action or move to forcefully remove or impeach the Senate President from office.
Reliefs 4 and 5 prayed the court for an order of substituted service of court processes on the defendants.
Arguing the motion, Etiaba said in the event the court was constrained to grant reliefs 1, 2, and 3, “Our alternative prayer is for the court to make preservatory orders in order to protect the res (subject matter) of the suit.
According to the counsel, the preservatory orders will take away their fears, stressing that under section 6 of the Constitution, the court has inherent jurisdiction to make such an order.
Justice Dimgba, in a short ruling held that in respect of reliefs 1, 2, and 3, which are orders of interim injunction, “I believe the proper order to make is an order of accelerated hearing of the suit so that the court can consider and determine the merits of the substantive case expeditiously”.
“Even though reliefs 1, 2, and 3, are not granted, needless to say, parties have been enjoined to respect the authority of the court and the integrity of the judicial process and should not take steps that will render the matter nugatory.
Furthermore, the court granted reliefs 4 and 5, and directed substituted service of court processes, the originating summon and motion for injunction on the 1st to 8th defendants through clerk of the National Assembly.
In addition, Justice Dimgba ordered substituted service on the 10th to 12th defendants by courier service.
“Counsels should take necessary steps to serve all the parties with the processes, the court said.
In the motion, the plaintiffs are praying for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 4th to 11th defendants, jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants or privies, assigns however so called from unlawfully removing the 2nd defendant as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The plaintiffs are also seeking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 9th to 10th defendants from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the 2nd defendant as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, until the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 10th to 11th defendants from harassing, hounding intimidating, arresting or detaining the 2nd defendant in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to Section 50(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as attended), until the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
More so, the plaintiffs want the court to make an order directing the parties in the suit to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Other Defendants cited in the suit are the Senate, the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawal (Senate Leader), Senator Bala Ibn Nallah (Deputy Senate Leader), Senator Emma Buacha (Deputy Minority Leader), Clerk of the Senate, Deputy Clerk of the Senate, the Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police and the State Security Service, SSS.
Meanwhile, in the light of the originating summon of the suit, the court adjourned to September 6, for accelerated hearing.

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