Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Department State Services (DSS), Inspector General of Police (IG), Attorney General of the Federation and eight others have been dragged before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over alleged plan to impeach Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on account of his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Plaintiffs in the suit want an order of court restraining defendants in the suit from taking any unlawful or illegal action from removing the Senate president from office.
Other defendants in the suit filed by Senators Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo representing Kwara South senatorial district and Isa Misau, Bauchi Central senatorial district respectively include; the Senate, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawal, Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Na’Allah, Deputy Minority, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Clerk of the Senate and Deputy Clerk of the Senate.
In the fresh court action filed yesterday in Abuja with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018, the plaintiffs argued that if the order is not granted the action of the defendants is capable of plunging the entire country into a constitutional and social crisis of immense magnitude.
In the originating summons filed on their behalf by Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the plaintiffs want the court to determine whether in view of the provision of section 50(1)(a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki, who defected to another political party as a result of division in his former party can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with section 50 of the Constitution.
Plaintiffs also want the court to determine whether Saraki can be compelled to vacate his office on the grounds that he is not a member of the political party with majority of senators in the Senate in view of the combined reading of section 50 of the constitution and Order 3, Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders.
The court was also urged to determine whether the Senate president can be said to have vacated his office by virtue of section 50(2) of the constitution when he has not ceased to be a member of the Senate or the Senate dissolved.
In a motion on notice filed along with the originating summons, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 4th to 11th defendants jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from unlawfully removing the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They also prayed the court for another order of interlocutory injunction restraining the 9th to 10th defendants from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of their originating summons.
Besides, the plaintiffs asked for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the 10th and 11th defendants from harassing, intimidating, arresting or detaining the President of the Senate in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to section 50(1) of the constitution and another order directing parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The motion was predicated on a seven grounds among which were that the agents of the Inspector General of Police and DSS have taken steps to flagrantly breach the provision of section 50 by employing their agents to disrupt the plenary of the Senate without recourse to the said provision.
Another ground was that the constitutional provision of removal of the Senate President does not empower the AGF, police and DSS to unlawfully interfere with the legislative duties of the Senate by causing a blockade at the premises of the national assembly complex or using their agents to disrupt the lawful duties of the Senate.
In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice and deposed to by Senator Isa Misau, he averred that the Senate is a body recognised and established by the 1999 Constitution vested with powers of making laws for the good governance and well-being of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the Senate held a plenary sitting between July 24 and 27 and that it was presided over by its president and that at the end of the sitting members adjourned to September 25.
The senator claimed that the APC as a platform for the Senate President had been bedeviled by crisis resulting in divisions and factionalisation at the federal, state and local government levels prompting many senators including the Senate President to defect and join parties of their choice.
Misau further averred that the defection of the senators did not go down well with the APC leadership and have been threatening and boasting that the office of the Senate President has become vacant by virtue of decamping to another party.
The senator claimed that unless the defendants and their agents are restrained from taking laws into their hands the constitution of Nigeria would not only be breached and violated but would also plunged the entire country into a constitutional and social crisis of immense magnitude because of their threat that Nigeria will not know peace unless the Senate president is unlawfully removed.
As at the time of filing this report, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the suit.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, met with the party’s senators last night in Abuja.
No statement was made on its outcome as the meeting was said to be a private one.