Kogi lawmakers ask N’Assembly to halt planned take-over of chamber
No fewer than 15 out of the 20 members of the Kogi State House of Assembly yesterday, advised the leadership of the National Assembly to rescind its decision to take over the affairs of the State Assembly as a result of the crisis allegedly orchestrated by five of their colleagues.
It would be recalled that five out of the 20 lawmakers had reportedly impeached the Speaker, Momoh-Jimoh Lawal on Tuesday, February 16 and named one of them, Mr. Umar Iman, as his successor. The development degenerated into a serious crisis which forced the Speaker, House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara requesting the House to investigate the current crisis and the National Assembly decided to take over the affairs of the institution. But Lawal and 14 lawmakers including the principal officers of the State House of Assembly, in a letter to Dogara through their counsel, Messrs Ademuyiwa Adeniyi, advised the federal lawmakers to steer clear of their affairs because the matter was already in court. The legislators also informed the National Assembly that its order directing the sealing-off of the Kogi House of Assembly premises was illegal, as it does not have power to do so.
They said: “In the light of the above reasons and the simple fact that the House order directing the sealing-off, of the Kogi State House of Assembly is no less an executive order over which the House of Representatives lack the vires to make. “The making of such order is situated in the Executive by the Constitution, which recognises the separation of power of the three arms of government as the hallmark of democracy. “We therefore advise that the directive that the Kogi State House of Assembly be sealed-off, be rescinded without delay.” The lawmakers said there were several suits pending in various courts and that the federal parliament should respect its own convention to abstain from any matter that is already a subject of litigation.
We are not unmindful of the current events and disagreement of members of the said parliament, which culminated into the change of the principal officers of the said Legislative Assembly, which is the subject of litigation in the Federal High Court of Nigeria Abuja Judicial Division in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/184/2016 entitled Rt. Hon. Momoh Lawal and 9 Other Versus Hon. Umar Imam and 8 others.
“Prior to this Court action, we assert that legal proceedings in suit No FHC/LK/CS/ 16/16 entitled Kogi State House of Assembly and 3 Others Versus (i) National Assembly, (ii) Speaker, House of Representatives; and (iii) National Assembly, Ad-Hoc committee on Kogi State House of Assembly was instituted challenging that the defendants (i.e. House of Representatives) lack the locus standi to investigate and or dabble into the internal affairs of the Kogi State House of Assembly. “Any such action of the Defendant approximates to legislative lawlessness done ultra vires and constitutes an infringement of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). “Additionally to these reliefs an order of injunction was sought restraining this House from taking any step whatsoever concerning the change of leadership the Kogi State House of Assembly.
“Aside from all of the above, the Kogi State House of Assembly specifically on Friday the 28th day of April 2016 initiated a legal proceeding at the Supreme Court in Suit No. SC/340/2016 entitled Attorney General of Kogi State and Kogi State House of Assembly Versus National Assembly of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federation. “We confirm that processes in all and particularly the last two of three suits listed above were served on the National Assembly as well as the office of the Rt. Hon. Speaker. “Our claim of your being aware of the pendency of this action is put beyond disputation by the press statement of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila Leader of the House of Representatives who also doubles as a member of the Ad-Ho Committee, Kogi State House of Assembly matter.
“The said press statement acknowledging the pendency of the said Supreme Court suit was widely published and reported in the Punch Newspaper edition of 3rd May, 2016. “Mr. Hon. Speaker Sir, needless do I draw your attention to the extant Order I (Rules of Debate 57(5) of the House of Representatives Standing Rules which provides thus: ”Reference shall not be made to any matter on which judicial decision is pending in such a way as might in the Speaker’s opinion prejudice the interest of the parties thereto”
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