The senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, on Monday denied claims that he was evading the service of petition and timetable for his recall from the Senate by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Melaye made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja on Moday.
The senator is facing a recall by his constituents who in a petition on June 23, 2017, called on INEC to recall him.
He was accused of poor representation of the constituency at the Senate.
But Melaye said accepting any â€œpurportedâ€™â€™ petition from INEC would amount to breaching the 1999 constitution (as amended).
According to him, the window provided by the constitution for the service of recall petition had elapsed and I would not be seen to be breaching the law.
â€œIt is clear that by the provisions of Section 69(b) of the 1999 Constitution, INEC must act on the petition purportedly presented to it on June 23, 2017, by conducting a referendum within 90 days of receipt of the petition.
â€œThe 90 days period as provided for in the constitution for conducting the referendum after our verification, elapsed on September 23, 2017.
â€œThe time having elapsed, I cannot under the circumstance, aid and abet INEC to further infringe on the provisions of the constitution, which I have sworn to defend,â€™â€™ he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that his position on the matter had been affirmed by various Supreme Court decisions.
He cited the case of Nyako v. Adamawa State House of Assembly and others (2016) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) v. Alhaji Mohammed Goni and others.
The senator said from the apex courtâ€™s decision, the constitution could not be amended by â€œmereâ€™â€™ pronouncement of a court of law.
Melaye added that it was only right to respect the provision of the constitution.
â€œThe trial judge failed to respect that provision of the constitution when he elongated 90 days provided for, saying the process was paused when the interim order for maintenance of status quo was granted.
â€œI am not evading the service of any purported petition on me by INEC.
â€œAs a matter of fact, my lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, served INEC a notice to produce the said petition in the course of hearing of this matter but INEC failed to produce the petition in court.
â€œI have also instructed my lawyer to challenge the jurisdiction of the trial court to entertain an ex parte application for the service on me.
â€œIn view of the lapse of time, I shall no longer be in a haste to take any further step in this matter so as not to aid any party, especially INEC in breaching the constitution,â€™â€™ he said.
Melaye said having asked his lawyer to file appeal against the judgment by the court, he was aware that the matter was sub-judice.
He added that it was in view of that that he chose to speak only on the â€œsocio-political aspectâ€™â€™ of the matter.