4 Nov 2014

Court restrains PDP lawmakers from reconvening House of Reps; ...Tambuwal remains Speaker

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday ruled that the status quo in the House of Representatives should be maintained, with Aminu Tambuwal still Speaker.

The ruling means that the embattled House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, will remain Speaker until the House reconvenes on December 3.

The court also ruled that the Speaker could not be removed and that the House could not reconvene until the said December 3 date.

Hearing on the substantive case will resume on Friday.

Opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives filed a lawsuit seeking to stop an alleged plan by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to re-convene before the adjourn date of December 3.

The lawmakers had asked the court to “make a declaration that only the speaker can issue a directive to re-convene the House and any other attempt is illegal and unconstitutional”.

The issues presented by the lawmakers for the courts determination also include; whether in view of section 60 of the 1999 constitution and rules 18 of the House standing order the House of Representative can be re-convened without the express application to the speaker.

They also asked if the House could be re-convened without the speaker of the House of Representative expressly directing the clerk of the House to give notice of such re-assembly of members.

Others are whether the House can be re-convened by any other principal officer of the House of representative without recourse to the speaker.
Counsel to the All Progressives Congress lawmakers, Mr Mahmud Magaji, told reporters that the lawmakers also sought “a declaration that the House of Representative cannot be reconvened without recourse to the speaker and an express directive by him to the clerk of the house to do same.

“They also asked for an order of mandatory injunction restraining anyone from reconvening the House of Representatives on an earlier date in defiance to the December 3 when plenary was formally adjourned”.
After Tambuwal’s defected to the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on October 28, the PDP had advised him to do the needful – vacate the seat of the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Days after his defection, security personnel attached to him were withdrawn by the Inspector General of Police, who cited section 68 sub section 1(g) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Part of a statement by the police read, “…having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has redeployed its personnel attached to his office.”

After the withdrawal of the security personnel, the All Progressive Congress and Tambuwal took the Federal Government, the police and the PDP amongst others to court to challenge the decision to remove his security aides, insisting that it was an attempt to harm him.

The court’s Monday ruling means that tambuwal still remains the speaker of the House of Representatives, which implies he should still enjoy all benefits attached to the position.


Credit: Channels News

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