The Senate yesterday resolved to write to Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen, over alleged excesses of some judicial officers in cases involving arms of government.
Senators decided to draw the attention of the CJN to the ruling of an Abuja Federal High presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed which restrained the National Assembly from overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2018.
Justice Mohammed on Wednesday ordered parties in the suit not to take steps that would affect the res (subject) of the suit.
The Court restrained the National Assembly from further action on amendment of the Electoral Act pending the determination of a suit filed before it by Accord Party.
It further ordered parties to the suit to maintain status quo antebellum, at least between now and the next adjourned date, Tuesday.
The Senate said that it was wrong for the court to stop the National Assembly from taking further action on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The resolution followed the adoption of a Point of Order raised by the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio on the court order.
Akpabio said: “I have perused the Constitution and I cannot see anywhere that the court has the power to stop the proceedings of the Senate.
“If this is allowed, it therefore means that in future the court can stop the National Assembly from appropriating and the country will have no budget for that year.
“Separation of powers is a core of democracy so there is need for the Chief Justice to caution legal officers on issuing such orders geared towards interfering with other arms of government.’’
Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan said “Institutions should rather do things that should enhance our democracy. The issue at stake does not require court intervention because this is democracy at work. The court should hands off what we do in the National assembly. it is when we have finished and we have a law that the court feels that there are issues that they can interpret.’’
The Senate leader added that though he voted against the Bill, the time was not ripe for the court to come into the matter when a law had not been made for its interpretation.
Senate President Bukola Saraki “The issue is clear and the principle is clear; what is important is building democracy and building our institutions.
“We will come and go but the institutions will remain. So it is imperative that everybody must work towards sustaining the institutions. We will express our concern to the Chief Justice of Nigeria.’’
When the matter was put to vote, it was overwhelmingly supported.