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Suspension: Court adjourns Jibrin’s suit indefinitely

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By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Federal High Court in Abuja, Wednesday, adjourned the suit that erstwhile Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin, filed to challenge his suspension from the House, indefinitely.

Abdumumin Jibrin

Justice John Tsoho suspended hearing on the suit based on an appeal that was lodged by two members of the House of Reps, Hon. Nicholas Ossai and Hon. Orker-Jev Emmanuel.

Ossai who is the Chairman of House Committee on Ethics and Emmanuel who moved the motion that led to the Jubrin’s suspension for 180 legislative days, are challenging refusal of Justice Tsoho to join them as interested parties in the suit.

Counsel to the two lawmakers, Mr. Hakeem Kareem, informed the court that appeal his clients lodged against the dismissal of their joinder application has already been slated for hearing by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

He prayed the court to temporarily hands-off the matter and await decision of the appellate court.

However, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, urged the court to go ahead and hear the suit on its merit.

Falana accused the two lawmakers of deliberately stalling hearing on the matter, saying the appeal was only aimed at rendering the suit spent and nurgatory.

He drew attention of the court to the fact that Jubrin’s suspension which is the subject matter of the suit will lapse on June 28.

On their part, the House of Reps and its Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who are original defendants in the suit, through their lawyer Mr. Kanu Onuoha, aligned with the appellants and urged the court to hands-off for the appellate court in line with the principle of judicial heirachy.

In his ruling, Justice Tsoho held that he was minded to halt further hearing on the suit in order not to take any pre-emptive step capable of jeopardising the pending appeal.

“This suit is hereby adjourned indefinitely pending the decision of the Court of Appeal on the motion for stay of proceedings,” Justice Tsoho ruled.

Aside querying legality of his suspension, Jubrin is also praying the high court to award N1billion against the defendants as punitive and general damages for his suspension.

He is equally praying the court to declare that his suspension amounted to a violation of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression.

As well as to declare that the resolution the House passed to suspend him was in breach of section 68 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Besides, Jibrin wants the court to issue an order of injunction restraining the House of Reps from preventing him from participating in the Committees of the House or accessing the legislative chambers to perform his legislative duties.

It will be recalled that Jubrin was suspended on September 28, 2016 for 180 days, following corruption allegations he raised against principal officers of the House.

He had among other things, alleged that the officers, including the Speaker, Dogara, surreptitiously padded the 2016 budget with about N40billion

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