Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday, adjourned the hearing of a suit filed by two lawyer, Monday Ubani and John Nwokwu, against the Senate and House of Representatives over jumbo salaries.
Other respondents in the suit are: Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Revenue Mobilization Allocation, Fiscal Commission, (RMAFC) and National Assembly Service Commission
At the resumed hearing of the suit today, counsel to the two applicants, J. O. Igwe, informed the court that all respondents in the suit have been served with the hearing notice of the matter.
The counsel’s position was confirmed by the presiding judge, following the filing of the affidavit of services deposed to by the bailiffs who served them.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Obiozor, directed the applicants to reserve the respondents with the hearing notice, and consequently adjourned the matter to July 3, for report of service, and definite hearing of the suit.
In an originating summons filed before the court, by Ubani and Nwokwu, are asking the court to determine whether by relevant sections of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the National Assembly members have the power to fix their salaries, wages, remuneration or allowances.
They are also asking the court to determine whether RMAFC could delegate its power to determine the salaries or remuneration of the National Assembly or political office holders and/or if such power is subject to usurpation by the National Assembly or any other body.
They are also asking the court to determine whether the allocation of constituency projects and funds to the tune of N200 million to members of the National Assembly was not ultra vires, illegal and unconstitutional.
In an affidavit in support of the suit, sworn to by Ubani, he contended that based on relevant sections of the constitution, it was illegal for the National Assembly members to continue to collect the sum of N13.5 million monthly as running cost, N750,000.00 as consolidated salary and allowance and N200 million constituency project allowance as revealed by recent newspaper publications.
The deponent argued that by virtue of relevant sections of the 1999 constitution as amended, RMAFC was the only authority permitted to fixed the salaries, allowances and remuneration of political office holders, including that of National Assembly members.
He further averred that the actions of the respondents have continuously depleted the national economy, subjected Nigerians into hardship and exposed the country into economic recession.
Ubani also stated that the respondents by their action connived and colluded with themselves to rob Nigerians of their common patrimonies, wreck economic havoc and economic earthquake on the national economic development.
Consequently, the applicants are asking the court to among other things, make a declaration that RMAFC is only body responsible for determining, the salaries, remuneration and/or allowances of the National Assembly or political office holders.
They also asked the court for perpetual injunction restraining the National Assembly whether by themselves, officers, agents, privies, servants or through any person or persons howsoever from further receiving the sum of N13.5 Million monthly allowances or running cost or whatever sum as a running cost and N200 million as annual constituency project.
They also want the court to make an order that the each member of the National Assembly should refund to the federation account the sum of N13.5 million and N10 million respectively collected as running cost since 2015 till date within 14 days of delivery of judgment in the suit.
The Street Reporters