By Adebayo Olodan
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies involved in the probe of Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki over corruption allegations.
Saraki last Friday filed two separate fundamental rights enforcement suits before the court to challenge the decision of the EFCC to seize his houses.
Ruling on an ex parte application filed along with the substantive suit by Saraki, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on Tuesday ordered the anti-corruption body and the other five respondents to the suit to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.
The judge made the order after hearing Saraki’s lawyer Sunday Onubi, who moved the application.
The six respondents to the suit affected by the restraining order are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Department of State Services, Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and Code of Conduct Tribunal.
In a ruling delivered by the judge on returning to the courtroom after taking about 45 minutes to prepare it in his chambers, the court likened the restraining order issued on Tuesday to an order directing the parties to the suit to maintain the status quo in respect of the probe.
Ordering them to suspend the probe, Justice Taiwo said he granted Saraki’s prayers to avert a situation where the court would be faced with a situation of fait accompli.
He added that granting the order was in line with a settled principled of law that once a suit was filed, all parties to it must refrain from taking any action capable of rendering the suit nugatory.
According to him, the order amounts to an order directing the parties to maintain the status quo.
He added that the law allows such an application to be granted in a situation where the applicant would likely face “hardship” between the time of serving processes in the suit on the respondents and hearing and determination of the suit.
He ruled, “There is no doubt that the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 is a special proceeding with its stated rules and procedure.
“By the provision of Order 4(3) of the Fundamental Rights Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, the court may, if satisfied that the applicant may be caused hardship before the service of an application where liberty or life of the applicant is involved hear the application ex parte upon such interim reliefs as the justice of the application may demand.
“There is no doubt that in making the interim reliefs or orders, the court is guided even in its exercise of its discretion judicially and judiciously applied by the law and statues.
“Here comes in the rules and of course Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He added, “I am of the view, after due consideration of the aforesaid averment, that this court ought to make the order being sought by the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice.
“To do otherwise and not to restrain the respondents by asking them not to stay action will result in the court being faced with a fait accompli.”
The judge made the same set of orders in the two separate suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2019, filed by Saraki, which were separately argued and ruled upon on Tuesday.
Justice Taiwo then directed the applicant to serve the court processes on the six respondents who he also directed to file their response within five days of being served.
He adjourned further hearing till May 23, 2019 when the respondents will have an opportunity to challenge the ex parte order by arguing their objection to Saraki’s motion on notice.
…bags award for leading most productive NASS since 1999
By Adebayo Olodan
The Arewa Online Publishers’ Forum on Tuesday described the 8th National Assembly as the most productive since 1999, in spite of intimidation and harassment.
The National Chairman of the Forum, Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim, stated this when he presented the group’s Shining Light of Honour Award to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Sen. Shehu Sani, Sen. Magnus Abe and Sen. Kabir Marafa.
According to Ibrahim, the Forum unanimously resolved to honour Saraki, Dogara and the three Senators to show their appreciation and recognition of the work of the 8th National Assembly “in defence of democracy and the independence of the legislature.”
Ibrahim said: “You will agree with me that notwithstanding distractions that the leadership of both chambers of the 8th National Assembly faced, they were able to provide quality leadership that culminated in landmark legislations, which made the 8th National Assembly the most productive since 1999.
“It will be recalled that Senate President and the Speaker at various times suffered serious distractions, subtle harassment and intimidation for their loyalty and commitment to make the National Assembly a true parliament, representing the Nigerian people.
“Their unwavering loyalty and commitment to the Federal Republic of Nigeria provided decisive, purposeful and effective leadership that inspired most senators and members to equally put in their best through quality and patriotic contributions at plenary and committee levels that culminated into landmark legislations.
“As a matter of fact, but for the decisive and effective leadership provided by the President of the Senate and the Honourable Speaker, Nigeria’s fragile democracy would have been turned into a democratic dictatorship,”he stated.
He lamented a situation where some Senators and House Members oils not make it back to the National Assembly while fighting a populist cause.
“Nigerians are living witnesses and are proud of majority of the members of the 8th National Assembly for resisting sustained blackmail, intimidation and temptation by the executive to become its rubber stamp,” Ibrahim stated.
In his response, Saraki thanked the leadership of the Forum for the recognition, saying the award would further encourage the parliament to defend democracy and pass legislations where the interests of the people would remain paramount.
He stated that the National Assembly would continue to defend the nation’s democracy as well as its own independence, “since a weak parliament can only make for a weak democracy.”
On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas – who received the award on behalf of Dogara said the parliament would continue to work for the betterment of Nigeria.