Obey our judgment on Hembe, Supreme Court tells Dogara
The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to obey its judgment that sacked Herman Hembe.The apex court urged Hembe, representing Vandikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency of Benue State, to vacate his seat for Mrs. Dorothy Mato.
In making the pronouncement, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, said to do otherwise would spell doom for the country’s democracy.Onnoghen re-enforced the earlier order by the court that Hembe should pay N1million to Mato as cost.
The Supreme Court, had on June 25, 2017 sacked Hembe and Senator Sani Abubakar Danladi, from Taraba State and ordered that Mato and Shuaibu Isa Lau be sworn in immediately.
The court further ordered the sacked legislators to refund all the monies they had collected as salaries and allowances in the last two years.It held that Mato, who won the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the constituency, was the rightful candidate.
However, while the Senate President Bukola Saraki had since sworn in Lau, while Dogara is yet to do the same in the House.Hembe had filed a motion on notice, asking the Supreme Court to reverse itself.
Reacting to the motion yesterday, Onnoghen, who led four other Justices, insisted that the court could not revere itself, as it has no jurisdiction to sit on appeal over its judgment.
In making the request, the counsel to Hembe, Paul Erokoro, urged the court to correct some errors and accidental slip contained in its judgment.Erokoro told the court that his motion was for an order of the court to correct and amend an error in the judgment to reflect the true intention of the said judgment.
He said the court was wrong to have invoked section 22 of the Act to hear the appeal instead of sending it back to the tribunal for a re-trial.But the court questioned the propriety of his motion in view of order 8, Rule 16 of the Supreme Court.
The counsel to Mato, Emeka Etiaba, had expressed his readiness to attack the motion holistically, because it constituted an abuse of the court process.
Justice Onnoghen reminded him that the case was a pre-election matter, which had a time frame and “We invoked the powers of this court under section 22 of the Act, heard the matter and gave judgment.
“The Supreme Court is the final court for a reason that there has to be an end to litigation,” he said.The court also refused the application filed by Erokoro, asking it to vacate the consequential order directing Hembe to refund his salaries and allowances.
“This is a policy-making court to guide the society to move forward. If somebody has been in the House where he is not supposed to be and had reaped the benefits which should not be, should we close our eyes to this product of impunity?” the CJN asked.