Suspension: Court rejects two lawmakers’ move to join Jibrin’s N1bn lawsuit against House of Reps
- Says the court does not need them to decide the case
- Fixes April 28 for definite hearing of Jibrin’s suspension suit
A Federal high court sitting in Abuja on Thursday threw out a consolidated application by two House of Representatives members to join a N1billion lawsuit maintained by former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin, challenging his continued suspension from the House.
Their intention was to attack the suit and cause it to fail in limine.
But the court presided over by Justice John Tsoho, in a ruling, held that the two lawmakers were not necessary parties to the suit and that the case could be decided effectively and efficiently without them being part of the of the case.
The lawmakers whose applications were thrown out Thursday were the Chaiirman of House Committee on Ethics, Hon. Nicholas Ossai, and the lawmaker who moved the motion that led to Hon Abdulmumin’s suspension, Hon. Orker-Jev Emmanuel.
The trial judge subsequently adjourned definite hearing in the originating summons filed by Jibrin where he is claiming N1billion as damages to April 28.
The two lawmakers had in a joint application they filed before the court, sought to be allowed to file processes against the suit.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/Bl2/2015, listed the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the House itself and its Clerk, as defendants.
Both Ossai and Emmanuel had before the commencement of hearing in the substantive suit approached the court, seeking to be joined as co-defendants in the matter.
They prayed the court to order Jibrin to amend the originating summons to include their names, saying their conducts as House members have been impugned and called into question in the suit.
“The applicants have the constitutional right to be heard in this suit because of the allegations made against them by the plaintiff.
“The applicants’ interests as members of the House and the interests of their constituents will be affected by the outcome of the present proceedings if the allegations made by the plaintiff are not challenged by the applicants,” they argued.
However, in his ruling, Justice Tsoho held that the matter could be effectively determined without participation of the applicants.
According to Tsoho the applicants are agent of the House which is a principal party in the suit, adding that the two lawmakers could not disclose personal injury they stood to suffer or sufficient interest in the suit to warrant their inclusion as a party in the proceeding.
Consequently, he dismissed their application and adjourned for the plaintiff to move his originating summons, as well as to hear preliminary objections the defendants filed to challenge the competence of the suit.
Jubrin, in the suit apart from challenging his alleged illegal suspension from the House, is also praying the court to award N1billion against the defendants as punitive and general damages for his suspension.
In the suit filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Mr, Chukwuma, the plaintiff is equally praying the court to declare that his suspension amounted to a violation of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression.
He also wanted the court to declare that the resolution the House passed to suspend him was in breach of section 68 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Besides, Jibrin wanted the court to issue an order of injunction restraining the House from preventing him from participating in the committees of the House or accessing the legislative chambers to perform his legislative duties.
Jubrin was suspended on September 28, 2016, for 180 days, following corruption allegations he raised against the principal officers of the House.
He had among other things, alleged that the officers, including the Speaker, Dogara, surreptitiously padded the 2016 budget with about N40billion.