Court Stops Senate, House of Reps’ Amendment of Electoral Law
The Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the National Assembly to a suit challenging the legitimacy of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 pending the next hearing in the case.
This comes after President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the Bill which seeks to alter the sequence of election as earlier announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a ruling Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered parties in the suit not to take steps that could affect the res (subject) of the suit, The Nation writes.
Justice Mohammed’s ruling followed an oral application by plaintiff’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who urged the court to make a preservative order to protect the res when it became obvious that his client’s motion was not ripe for hearing and the lawyer representing the National Assembly would not give an undertaking.
National Assembly’s lawyer Chinelo Ogbozor, had objected to the hearing of the plaintiff’s motion on the grounds that it was not ripe for hearing.
Justice Mohammed agreed that the National Assembly was entitled to respond to the plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory injunction.
The judge said: “Apparently the motion on notice cannot be heard today because the 1st defendant still needs time to respond to the application.
“The court should ordinarily adjourn the case. But, however, the plaintiff has referred us to the provisions of section 58(5) of the 1999 Constitution which stirs apprehension if the 1st defendant decides to move its powers provided in section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,” he noted.
Justice Mohammed said the President having withheld his assent and the Constitution having not provided the time frame within which the National Assembly might override the President’s veto, it implied that the National Assembly could take the step anytime.
The judge equally ordered that hearing notice be served on the Attorney-General of the Federation for the next hearing date which was set for March 20.
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