|Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Kogi State Government has sued the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the Supreme Court, asking for an order nullifying the House of Representatives’ resolution to take over the legislative functions of the state’s House of Assembly.
The House of Representatives had on March 9, 2016 passed a resolution to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The House of Representatives passed the resolution following the crisis that broke out from the tussle for the speakership position between two factions of the state assembly.
It also in the said resolution directed the Inspector-General of Police to seal up the House of Assembly until the crisis was resolved.
But the Kogi State Government represented by the state’s Attorney-General and the House of Assembly, filed its suit on April 29, 2016 before the Supreme Court, to challenge the House of Representatives’ resolution.
The National Assembly and the AGF are the two defendants to the suit.
The plaintiffs in the suit with number, SC.340/2016, filed under Order 3 Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, asked the apex court to declare that the House of Representatives’ resolution was passed in breach of section 11(4) of the Constitution.
They also urged the apex court to nullify the resolution.
They contended in their statement of claim that “the factional disagreement” between members of House of Assembly was normal in a democracy.
According to them, the crisis started on February 16, 2016, following a disagreement between two factions in the House of Assembly over the speakership position.
They claimed that following the disagreement, a faction of the members of the House of Assembly filed the suit, FHC/LKJ/CS/16/16 (Kogi State House of Assembly & 3 Ors V National Assembly & 2 Ors.
They said while the suit was pending, the House of Representatives invoked its power under section 11(4) of the Constitution to take over the functions of the House of Assembly.
The plaintiffs said the House of Representatives declared the impeachment proceedings embarked upon by five members of the members of the House of Assembly for the removal of the Speaker, as clearly violating section 92(c) of the Constitution.
They added that the lower legislative chamber of the National Assembly also condemned the roles played by the police in providing cover for only five members out of the 20 members of the House of Assembly “to commit illegalities”.
But the plaintiffs claimed that the said “disagreement” between the factions in the House of Assembly did not create any “adverse security situation” in the state.
Their statement of claim accompanying the suit added, “There is no security report by the Governor of Kwara State, the police or any security agency in Nigeria that the disagreement among members of Kogi State House of Assembly caused insecurity and danger t o public safety in the state.
“At all times material to the passage of the resolution of the National Assembly to take over Kogi State House of Assembly, Kogi State was ad is calm and peaceful as citizens go about their lawful business.”
The plaintiffs therefore sought the following two prayers: “A declaration that the resolution of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, which purportedly took over the legislative functions of Kogi State House of Assembly is passed in breach of section 11(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the National Assembly from interfering with or take over the legislative functions of Kogi State House of Assembly based on the resolution of the House of Representatives passed on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.”
The processes of the suit had been served on the defendants.
But the defendants have yet to respond to the suit and no date has been fixed for the hearing.
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