Onnoghen: Senate Withdraws Supreme Court Case, as 56 APC Senators Challenge Suit

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate on Monday withdrew its case before the Supreme Court seeking the judicial interpretation of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is coming just as 56 APC Senators also Monday approached the Supreme Court to challenge their inclusion in the suit.

The latest move by the Senate, according to a statement issued by the Media Adviser to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, followed the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the matter.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly has decided to give the NJC intervention a chance.
“The Senate has therefore decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case has been slated for hearing tomorrow.

“This decision also affirm the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues”, the statement added
Meanwhile, the APC Senate caucus Monday sought to be joined in the Senate suit as a way of showing the court that there was no resolution to that effect by the Senate .

The Caucus in a statement signed by the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan , informed the apex court that the suit does not represent the interest of the Senate since 56 out of the 109 members are not part of it .

The statement reads: “The Senate caucus of the APC consisting of 56 Senators being the majority party in the Senate , has today Monday, February 4, 2019, applied to the Supreme Court to join issues in the suit purportedly filed by the Senate against the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as interested parties .

” The APC Senators rely on the Supreme Court ( Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act of 2002 , which provides that the resolution of the respective chambers of National Assembly is a prerequisite of filing such suit .

“The caucus is therefore challenging the said suit and objects to the inclusion of it’s members “.
The Senate had last Monday directed its lawyer, Mr Kanu Agabi, SAN, a former Attorney general of the federation and Minister of Justice to approach the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court, to seek its interpretation of whether President Muhammadu Buhari acted within the provisions of the constitution in his suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen .

The upper chamber of the National Assembly also asked the court to determine whether the action of the President does amount to usurpation of the powers of the Senate as provided for in Section 292 of the constitution.

Media Adviser to the Senate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu, had in a release issued in Abuja said following the filing of the case, the matter of the suspension of the CJN which is the main issue for which the Senate had planned to reconvene last Tuesday, had become subjudiced.

“Therefore, in line with the standing rules of the Senate not to debate issues that are already pending before the court, the reconvening of the Senate tomorrow has been put off. The previous adjournment of the Senate till February 19, 2019 stays”, the release had said.