Justice John Tsoho of The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has set aside September 25, 2018, as judgment day on the suit instituted by the Inspector General of Police against the upper chamber and its president, Bukola Saraki.
The judgment day was fixed on Wednesday, June 26, 2018, and it will rule on the suit seeking to quash the May 9 resolution of the Nigerian Senate which declared the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, “unfit” to retain his position.
But surprisingly, the judgment day was fixed in the absence of both the Senate and Saraki, who were respondents, in the said suit. This was after Justice Tsoho had on June 7, ordered that the respondents should be served through the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Vanguard reported that neither Senate nor Saraki sent a legal representative or filed any brief in response to the suit which the IGP lodged before the high court to challenge the powers of the Respondents to pass a vote of no confidence against him.
Adding that the IGP, in his suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/554/2018, prayed the court to bar the Senate from taking further steps with regards to the resolution.
And following the absence of the Respondents in court for a hearing of the suit, Justice Tsoho gave the IGP the nod to adopt his processes, after which he adjourned the case for judgment.
The court said it was satisfied that counsel to the Police boss, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, duly served all the relevant processes, as well as the hearing notice, on the Respondents.
Meanwhile, Idris had approached the court challenging his summon by the Nigerian Senate.
In a suit no. FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 457/2018, the Inspector General of Police asked for an injunctive order of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja restraining, “the Senate and Senate President, Bukola Saraki of their assigns, agents or any committees from insisting that he must appear before the upper legislative chambers in person, to the exclusion of any of his subordinate officers.”
Stating he could not honour the Senate invitation in person, because he was directed by the President to be among the presidential entourage embarking on a two-day official trip to Bauchi State and therefore on the said April 26, 2018, he was in Bauchi State on an assignment.
Noting “As a result of the above development, I then directed and delegated the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State, who had adequate knowledge of the two subject matters which the Senate required briefing, to appear before the Senate on April 26, 2018, on my behalf.”
But according to him, the Senate refused the appearance of the said officers.
In the suit, Idris pleaded court to declare that the letters inviting him by the Senate dated April 25, 2018, and April 26, 2018, relating to pending criminal proceedings against Senator Dino Melaye in court of law was beyond its powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution and same is contrary to the Senate Standing Order, 2015, and the provision of section 6(6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, and, therefore null, void and of no effect.
He applied for “An order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the respondents, whether by itself, or through its servant, agents and or privies, whatsoever from acting on the said resolution contained in the Gazette dated 9th May, 2018 or causing same to be acted upon by any person or authority or government agency, or carrying out similar or like resolution against the applicant”.
In a 15-paragraph affidavit filed by his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon in support to the suit, the IGP claimed that the Senate was aware that the said Senator Dino Melaye was facing criminal charge in a court of law and that he was not answerable to the Senate but to the Judicial arm of Government trying the matter.
However, a witness, Lukman Fagbemi, stated that Senator Dino Melaye was facing a charge of criminal conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms before a court of competent jurisdiction in his state Kogi.
The IGP argued that once the charge is before a court of competent jurisdiction, it is only the Judicial arm of Government that adjudicates and disposes of the matter one way or the other and not subject to oversight functions of the Senate under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as claimed by the Senate.
He reiterated that the Chapter Viii Rule 53 (5) of the Senate Standing Order prohibits any reference to any matter in which any judicial decision is pending, stating that in this case the charge before the court in Lokoja, Kogi State is still pending.
He insisted there would be nowhere in the discussion on Dino Melaye’s case by the Senate it would not relate to or impact on the matter in court. Adding that under the 1999 Constitution, and the Police Act, the holder of his office (IGP), can delegate or direct the carrying out of its functions by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Commissioner of Police.