The House of Representatives, its Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, have appealed Monday’s judgment by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja restraining defecting members of the House from altering the current composition of its leadership.
In a notice of appeal filed in Abuja yesterday by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the three appellants faulted Justice Ademola’s reasoning and urged the Court of Appeal, Abuja to set aside the judgment.
The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/4/14, filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the House of Representatives, its principal officers and members of the House, who defected from the party to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
The appellants, who raised seven grounds of appeal, with a promise to add more, argued that the judgment is “perverse and not supported by the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.”
They added that the judge “erred in law when he granted reliefs not sought by the plaintiff.”
The appellants contended that the judgment “is against the weight of evidence.” And that he erred “when he granted the reliefs sought by the plaintiff and “went further to hold that the 1st to 39th respondents ought to have resigned their seats as members of the 1st appellant.
They argued that the judge erred when he held that the reliefs of the 1st respondent (PDP) were justiciable and proceeded to grant the reliefs sought without considering the provision of Section 30 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap L12 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The section provides that “neither the President nor the Speaker as the case may be, of a legislative house shall be subjected to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in him by or under this Act or the standing orders of the Constitution.”
The appellants argued that the judge wrongly assumed jurisdiction over the suit, which was predicated on the internal affairs of the House of Reps, which is protected under Section 60 of the Constitution. They further argued that the reliefs sought by the PDP were not justiciable, yet the judge proceeded to grant the reliefs.
They contended that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the case because it was not predicated on any recognised legal interest; the reliefs sought were not supported by any legal evidence and that the judge failed to reckon with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Fawehinmi vs Akilu (1987) 12 SC 136, Amaechi vs INEC (2008)1 LRECN 1.
The appellants faulted the judge for holding that the suit was rightly commenced with originating summons, without regard to the provision of Order 3 Rule 6 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009.
They argued that the judge was wrong to have held that the claims of the PDP do not amount to an abuse of court process when there are similar cases, involving the same parties, still pending before the court.
They referred to suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/621/2013 between Senator Bello Hayato Gwazo and 79 others vs Alhaji Bamaga Tukur and four others and argued that the parties and reliefs sought were similar with that on which the judge gave judgment. – The Nation.