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Ningi Draws Battle Lines With Akpabio | READ WHY 

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Ningi Draws Battle Lines With Akpabio | READ WHY

 

Barely three weeks into his three months suspension, Abdul Ningi, lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, has given the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, a seven-day ultimatum to recall him or risk legal action.

 

He also threatened to drag Akpabio to the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for flagrantly violating both a High Court and Court of Appeal ruling.

 

On March 12, the Senate suspended Ningi over his claim that the 2024 budget was padded by N3.7 trillion, he claimed that while the budget passed by the National Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year was N25 trillion, the one being executed by the Presidency was N28.7 trillion.

 

During plenary, Ningi denied making the allegations when questioned by Akpabio and other lawmakers. In spite of it, he was slammed with a three-month suspension.

But in a letter written to Akpabio through his lawyer, Femi Falana, Ningi faulted the process of his suspension, stating that Akpabio took laws into his own hands by arrogating to himself the powers of accuser and judge in his own case. He also contended that the decision of the Senate was a direct affront on his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution. He argued that his suspension and the denial of his entitlements were illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular.

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The petition entitled: ‘Request To Lift The Suspension Of Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi,’ read in part: “We are Solicitors to Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi representing the Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as “our client”) on whose behalf we write this letter.

 

“On March 9, 2024,  He expressed his views on the budget of the Federal Government in exercise of his fundamental right of freedom of speech guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Dissatisfied with the interview, you caused our client to be put on trial before the Senate on March 14, 2024 contrary to the provisions of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2018.

 

“Even though it was alleged that you were indicted by our client in the interview, you presided over the proceedings of the Senate. It is on record that you were the accuser, the prosecutor and the Judge in your own case in utter violation of the provisions of section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004

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“At the end of the trial, you pronounced our client guilty and declared that the Senate do suspend Senator Abdul Nigin (Bauchi North) for three (3) months and he should forfeit all his entitlements and be disallowed from the precincts of the National Assembly Complex during the period of the suspension.

 

“He should also apologise to the Senate in writing, thereafter the Senate can consider his remorse and recall him.

 

“Apart from violating our client’s fundamental right to fair hearing, the Senate violated the right of the entire people of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District to representation in the Senate for three months. This is a breach of section 111 of the Constitution and article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

“As you are no doubt aware, the Federal High Court had struck down the suspension of some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who had accused the leadership of both houses of budget padding, corruption or abuse of office. Specifically, the court declared the suspension of the affected legislators illegal and unconstitutional.

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“As a senior lawyer, you ought to have drawn the attention of the members of the Senate to these decisions and several others where the high courts of some states and the Court of Appeal have held that no parliament in Nigeria has the power to suspend or expel a legislator and confiscate his salaries and allowances.

 

“In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that the suspension of Senator Ningi and the denial of his entitlements are illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular. We are compelled to request you to ensure that the said suspension is lifted forthwith.

 

“However, if you fail to accede to our request Seven (7) days upon receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to pray to the Federal High Court for the reinstatement of our client. We shall equally report you to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for treating the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal with disdain.”

 

 

SOURCE: SUN

 

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