Nigerian govt faults suit against Senate reopening without Saraki’s consent
NEWS DIGEST – The Federal Government has faulted a suit by two senators seeking to stop the reopening of the Senate without the consent of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senators Rafiu Adebayo (Kwara South) and Isa Misau (Bauchi Central) who initiated the suit were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). They have defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The government’s position came through its notice of preliminary objection to the suit filed by Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
In the objection dated August 17, the AGF urged the court to dismiss the suit and querried the plaintiffs’ locus standi. He urged the court to decline jurisdiction.
The AGF, listed as the 10th defendant, argued that the plaintiffs failed to show that the defendants had done any wrong to warrant being sued.
“My lord, I don’t think this court is so free to allow itself to be used by mischief makers like the plaintiffs in this matter.
“The present suit as constituted has not shown any wrong done to the plaintiffs.
“We submit that the directives or invitation of the Senate President to appear before the Inspector General of Police for further investiagation in line with paragraph 5(f) of the DPPF’s advice cannot create a cause of action in favour of either Saraki himself or the plaintiffs, the AGF said.
“It is pertinent to my lord to state here that if there is a threat to powers of the Senate President as conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution as amended and the Standing Rules of the Senate, the first person to complain and not the plaintiffs also herein, the Senate President, did not raise any alarm that some people are trying to usurp his powers and illegally reconvene the Senate.
“My lord, in determining whether the plaintiffs have the necessary capacity to institute the action, the claim must be examined to see if there is any enforceable right in connection with with the plaintiffs.“
The AGF argued that there must be a nexus between the plaintiffs and the disclosed cause of action concerning their right or obligation which have been breached or threatened to be violated.
The AGF contended that section 6(6)(b) of the 1999 constitution is to the effect that for a person to be able to institute an action in court, he must be able to show that he has the right and obligation to do so and failure to do so would cause him/her injustice.
The government urged the court to decline jurisdictions and hold that the plaintiffs though members of the Senate, are total strangers to the circumstances that gave rise to the suit and hence lack the locus to institute the action.
The AGF insisted that the duty of the plaintiffs is to attend senate business of the 2nd defendant (senate president), through due process, summons the senate to reconvene and carry out their duties as senators and not to invent facts and concort a suit and file same in a court.
The 10th defendant contended that all through the facts in the plaintiffs’ affidavits, “there was nothing showing that the Senate President has complained to the plaintiffs that his powers are being usurped by some agents of the state”.
The AGF said since every declaration and order sought by the plaintiffs in the suit are directly for the benefit of the Senate President, the plaintiffs lacked locus standi to commence the suit and that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine the plaintiffs’ suit. Hearing has been fixed for September 13.