Impeachment of President:Mark ,Tambuwal, National Assembly Dragged to Court



senate_president__david_mark 600By Danlami Nmodu

A self- styled “business man,social crusader and critic”, Mr Jude Chijioke Ndukwe has dragged the Senate President, David Mark,Speaker House of Reps,Aminu Tambuwal and the National Assembly before the Federal High court over attempts to amend the impeachment clause in Nigeria’s constitution.

The plaintiff is seeking the following reliefs: “A DETERMINATION of the question whether the attempt by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to amend Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended by arrogating to themselves the powers to solely commence and conclude the process of removing a democratically elected president from office which is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

“CONSEQUENT UPON RELIEF 1 ABOVE, a determination of the question whether it is not mandatory for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is allowed to appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the impeachment allegations upon the request of the Senate President as currently provided for in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

“A MANDATORY ORDER compelling the Defendants to retain the provisions of Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which empowers the Chief Justice of Nigeria to at the request of the Senate President, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegations against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In his affidavit the plantiff said “That it is in the interest of justice, fairness, good governance and stability for Nigeria to restrain the National Assembly from continuing with the amendment of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Read the documents emailed to Newsdiaryonline.com below:

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/…………./2013

BETWEEN:

JUDE CHIJIOKE NDUKWE ….………………..………………… PLAINTIFF

AND

1. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

2. SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ……….……… DEFENDANTS

3. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

ORIGINATING SUMMONS

BROUGHT UNDER:

ORDER 3 RULE 6 & 9 OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT, (CIVIL PROCEDURE) RULES, 2004.
INHERENT JURISDICTION OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT

LET THE DEFENDANTS (President of the Senate, Speaker House of Representatives and National Assembly) of c/o National Assembly Complex, Three Arm Zone, Abuja (for 1st 2nd and 3rd Defendant) within thirty days after service of this summons on them, inclusive of the day of such service, cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon the application of JUDE NDUKWE of Otemu, Yusuf & Ugochukwu Chambers of SF 15, Near Oando Filling Station, 1st Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja, who claims to be interested in the following reliefs:

(1) A DETERMINATION of the question whether the attempt by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to amend Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended by arrogating to themselves the powers to solely commence and conclude the process of removing a democratically elected president from office which is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

(2) CONSEQUENT UPON RELIEF 1 ABOVE, a determination of the question whether it is not mandatory for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is allowed to appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the impeachment allegations upon the request of the Senate President as currently provided for in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

(3) A MANDATORY ORDER compelling the Defendants to retain the provisions of Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which empowers the Chief Justice of Nigeria to at the request of the Senate President, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegations against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(4) SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

Dated this 25th day of June, 2013.

OGHENOVO O. OTEMU, ESQ.

OTEMU, YUSUF & UGOCHUKWU CHAMBERS

SF 15 ANAFARA’A PLAZA,

1ST AVENUE, GWARINPA

ABUJA, NIGERIA

08054206209,07039046200.

This Summons was taken out by OGHENOVO O. OTEMU, ESQ, legal practitioner for the above-mentioned Plaintiff. The defendants may appear hereunto by entering appearance personally or by a legal practitioner either by filling the appropriate forms (as in Order 7) in response at the Registrar of the Court where the summons was issued or by sending them to that office by any of the methods allowed by these Rules.

NOTE: if the defendants do not respond within the time at the place above mentioned, such orders will be made and proceedings may be taken as the Judge may think just and expedient.

SEALED at Federal High Court Registry, Abuja

DATED This…………………………… Day of……………………………. 2013

……………………………………..

HON. JUDGE

ON NOTICE TO:

DEFENDANTS

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY,

THREE-ARM ZONE,

ABUJA.

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/…………./2013

BETWEEN:

JUDE CHIJIOKE NDUKWE ….………………..………………… PLAINTIFF

AND

1. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

2. SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ……….……… DEFENDANTS

3. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT

I, JUDE CHIJIOKE NDUKWE, Male, Christian, Nigerian citizen of C/o Otemu, Yusuf & Ugochukwu Chambers, Suite Sf15, Anafara’s Plaza, Opposite Oando Filling Station, Near Polo Course Court, 1st Avenue, Gwarimpa, Abuja, do hereby make oath and state as follows:

1. I am a business man, social crusader and critic.

2. That I am also a registered voter in Nigeria and a tax-payer.

3. That as a registered voter and tax payer, how this country Nigeria is governed and how its laws are enacted are of great concern to me.

4. That the House of Representatives has passed a second reading of a Bill seeking absolute powers to solely initiate and execute impeachment proceedings against a sitting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

5. That the Bill will amend section 143 of the 1999 Constitution when passed.

6. That the Bill seeks to expunge Section 143 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which provides as follow:

“(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.”

7. That Section 143 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) if expunged from the Constitution and the National Assembly is empowered to solely have the responsibility and powers of removing a democratically elected president from office, the entire country will be thrown into a state of chaos.

9. That it is in the interest of justice, fairness, good governance and stability for Nigeria to restrain the National Assembly from continuing with the amendment of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

10. That I swear to this affidavit in good faith.

…………………………

DEPONENT

Sworn to at the Federal High Court Registry, Abuja,

This ………… day of ……………………….. 2013.

BEFORE ME

COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/…………./2013

BETWEEN:

JUDE CHIJIOKE NDUKWE ….………………..………………… PLAINTIFF

AND

1. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

2. SPEAKER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ……….……… DEFENDANTS

3. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

WRITTEN SUBMISSION IN SUPPORT OF ORIGINATING SUMMONS

1.0 INTRODUCTION:

1.1 By an Originating Summons dated the 24nd day of June, 2013, the Plaintiff seeks the following reliefs:

(1) A DETERMINATION of the question whether the attempt by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to amend Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended by arrogating to themselves the powers to solely commence and conclude the process of removing a democratically elected president from office which is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

(2) CONSEQUENT UPON RELIEF 1 ABOVE, a determination of the question whether it is not mandatory for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is allowed to appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the impeachment allegations upon the request of the Senate President as currently provided for in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

(3) A MANDATORY ORDER compelling the Defendants to retain the provisions of Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which empowers the Chief Justice of Nigeria to at the request of the Senate President, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegations against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(4) SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

1.2 The Originating Summons is supported by a 16-paragraph affidavit with three annexures. We intend to rely on all the paragraphs of the said affidavit and the annexures.

2.0 FACTS

2.1 The facts of the case are as enumerated in the affidavit in support of the Summons. The gravamen of the Plaintiff’s case is that the National Assembly has commenced a process of amending 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), by expunging Subsection 5 of Section 143 and giving to themselves the absolute powers of removing a sitting President from office on allegations of gross misconduct. In particular, paragraphs 4 – 9 state as follows:

1. “That the House of Representatives has passed for second reading a Bill seeking absolute powers to solely initiate and execute impeachment proceedings against a sitting President.

2. That the Bill will amend section 143 of the 1999 Constitution when passed.

3. That the bill seeks to expunge Section 143 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which provides as follow:

“(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.”

4. That Section 143 (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is expunged from the Constitution and the National Assembly is empowered to solely have the responsibility and powers of removing a democratically elected president from office, the entire country will be thrown into a state of chaos.

5. That it is in the interest of justice, fairness, good governance and stability for Nigeria to restrain the National Assembly from continuing with the amendment of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

2.2 Based on the above facts, the Plaintiff has approached this court for the above reliefs.

3.0 ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

3.1 From the foregoing, the following issues arise for determination:

(1) WHETHER THE ATTEMPT BY THE 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD DEFENDANTS TO AMEND SECTION 143 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999 AS AMENDED BY ARROGATE TO THEMSELVES THE POWERS OF SOLELY COMMENCING AND CONCLUDING THE PROCESS OF REMOVING A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE IS NOT REPUGNANT TO NATURAL JUSTICE, EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE.

(2) IF ISSUE 1 SUCCEEDS IN FAVOUR OF THE PLAINTIFF, WHETHER IT IS NOT MANDATORY FOR THE 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD DEFENDANTS TO ENSURE THAT THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA IS ALLOWED TO APPOINT A PANEL OF SEVEN PERSONS WHO IN HIS OPINION ARE OF UNQUESTIONABLE INTEGRITY, NOT BEING MEMBERS OF ANY PUBLIC SERVICE, LEGISLATIVE HOUSE OR POLITICAL PARTY, TO INVESTIGATE THE IMPEACHMENT ALLEGATIONS UPON THE REQUEST OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT AS CURRENTLY PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 143 (5) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999 AS AMENDED.

(3) WHETHER THE PLAINTIFF IS ENTITLED TO THE GRANT OF THE CONSEQUENTIAL RELIEFS.

4.0 TREATMENT OF ISSUES

4.1 ISSUE NO.1:

4.2 WHETHER THE ATTEMPT BY THE 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD DEFENDANTS TO AMEND SECTION 143 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999 AS AMENDED BY ARROGATE TO THEMSELVES THE POWERS OF SOLELY COMMENCING AND CONCLUDING THE PROCESS OF REMOVING A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE IS NOT REPUGNANT TO NATURAL JUSTICE, EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE.

4.3 Here we shall urge this Honourable Court to hold that the attempt by the Defendants to amend Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 by expunging subsection (5), and empowering themselves to have the sole responsibility and powers to impeach (remove) a sitting president from office without the Chief Justice of Nigeria at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation against the president. For ease of reference Subsection 5 provides as follow:

“(5) Within seven days of the passing of a motion under the foregoing provisions, the Chief Justice of Nigeria shall at the request of the President of the Senate appoint a Panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegation as provide in this section.”

4.4 We submit with humility that the attempt to amend Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly and arrogating to themselves the power of solely impeaching a president is against the principle of NEMO JUDEX IN CAUSA SUA.

4.5 We submit that if the National Assembly is allowed to commence impeachment against a sitting president and without allowing the Chief Justice of the Federation set up a panel to conduct investigation on the allegations against the president, it then means that the National Assembly who is the accuser is the judge over its own accusations. The cardinal principle of checks and balance in government would have been destroyed and a sitting president made to be a puppet of the National Assembly. See ORUGBO V. UNA (2002) 9-10 S.C. 61, CITATION: (2002) LPELR-SC.112/1998 where it was held as follows:

“the natural justice rule of nemo judex in causa sua simply means a person should not be a judge in his own cause. See R.N.H.W. v. Sama (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 171) 64; Egwu v. University of Port Harcourt (1995) 8 NWLR (Pt. 414) 419.”

4.6 Also in GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY V. AKANDE & ORS CITATION: (2012) LPELR-SC.337/2008 it was held as follows:

“Audi alteram partem means please hear the other side. This is a maxim denoting fairness and a canon of natural justice. A judge at all times should allow both parties to be heard, and should listen of the case of each. Nemo judex in causa sua means that no judge should preside over a matter in which he has a personal interest or involvement. In this appeal it is the former that is relevant.”Per RHODES-VIVOUR, J.S.C.(P. 19, paras. D-F)

4.6. The move by the House of Representatives to vest the responsibility for impeaching the president exclusively in the National Assembly, is yet another instance of legislative aggrandisement, has little merit. Nigerians have been manifesting a growing demand for accountability, but the current impeachment process is not perceived as a barrier to this demand. Therefore, a review of the impeachment process is not a national priority.

4.7 The provisions of the 1999 Constitution recognise that impeachment is a serious process. By making the Chief Justice responsible for selecting a panel to investigate the charges made against a sitting president by the National Assembly, it ensures that those charges are subjected to credible scrutiny, and frees the National Assembly from playing the incongruous and unfair role of accuser and judge. The current process is evidently fairer than the new proposal which, while pretending to retain the involvement of the judiciary in the impeachment process, limits that involvement to tokenism.

4.8 We urge this court to so hold and resolve ISSUE 1 in favour of the Plaintiff.

5.0 ISSUE NO.2

5.1 IF ISSUE 1 SUCCEEDS IN FAVOUR OF THE PLAINTIFF, WHETHER IT IS NOT MANDATORY FOR THE 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD DEFENDANTS TO ENSURE THAT THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA IS ALLOWED TO APPOINT A PANEL OF SEVEN PERSONS WHO IN HIS OPINION ARE OF UNQUESTIONABLE INTEGRITY, NOT BEING MEMBERS OF ANY PUBLIC SERVICE, LEGISLATIVE HOUSE OR POLITICAL PARTY, TO INVESTIGATE THE IMPEACHMENT ALLEGATIONS UPON THE REQUEST OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT AS CURRENTLY PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 143 (5) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA 1999 AS AMENDED.

5.2 Here we shall urge this Honourable Court to hold that the move to expunge subsection 5 of Section 143 of the Constitution is undemocratic repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. And as such the proposed amendment will not be in the interest of Nigeria.

6.0 ISSUE NO.3

6.1 WHETHER THE PLAINTIFF IS ENTITLED TO THE GRANT OF THE CONSEQUENTIAL RELIEFS

6.2 We shall urge the court here to grant the consequential reliefs.

6.3 In the case of UBALE V. DADIYA & ORS. (2008) 15 NWLR (PT.1111) 489 @ 495 the court held as follows:

“A court has power to grant a consequential relief. A proper consequential relief need not be claimed, even though it can relate to a matter adjudicated upon. Such order is made subsequent to a decision and it is one which flows directly or naturally from the decision which is inevitably consequent to it. In the instant case, the order for fresh election tribunal was a consequential order which flowed directly and naturally from the decision of the tribunal that the election of 14th April for Balanga South State Constituency in Gombe State was inconclusive.”

6.4 In order words, if this Honourable Court grants our main reliefs, it follows that the court is automatically invested with the power to halt the unconstitutional acts of the Defendants., The consequential orders which the Claimant seeks are as follows:

(1) A DETERMINATION of the question whether the attempt by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to amend Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended by arrogating to themselves the powers to solely commence and conclude the process of removing a democratically elected president from office which is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

(2) CONSEQUENT UPON RELIEF 1 ABOVE, a determination of the question whether it is not mandatory for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants to ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is allowed to appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the impeachment allegations upon the request of the Senate President as currently provided for in Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

(3) A MANDATORY ORDER compelling the Defendants to retain the provisions of Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which empowers the Chief Justice of Nigeria to at the request of the Senate President, appoint a panel of seven persons who in his opinion are of unquestionable integrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party, to investigate the allegations against the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(4) SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

7.0 CONCLUSION

7.1 We urge this court to grant the reliefs of the Plaintiff to save our democracy from an avoidable collapse.

We are most obliged.

Dated this 25th day of June, 2013.

OGHENOVO O. OTEMU, ESQ.

OTEMU, YUSUF & UGOCHUKWU CHAMBERS

SF 15 ANAFARA’A PLAZA,

1ST AVENUE, GWARINPA

ABUJA, NIGERIA

08054206209,07039046200.

ON NOTICE TO:

DEFENDANTS

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY,

THREE-ARM ZONE,

ABUJA.

No tags for this post.