Law News
Court Reserves Judgment in Alison-Madueke’s Suit to Stop House Probe
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 Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke

A Federal High Court in Abuja has  fixed December 17 for judgment in the suit filed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Nigeria National Petroleum (NNPC) seeking to stop the House of Representatives from inviting her over an allegation that she spent N10 billon on aircraft charter.

Following several invitations asking her to appear before one of its committees,
Alison-Madueke on April 11 applied to the court to stop the moves by the House to probe her.

She dragged the National Assembly and the House of Representatives as 1st and 2nd defendants before the court, praying it for an order of perpetual injunction restraining them from summoning or directing her appearance before any committee particularly the Public Accounts Committee set up by the second defendant.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the plaintiffs through their counsel, Etigwe Uwa (SAN), submitted that  the National Assembly had no constitutional power to carry out an over sight function on ministries, departments and agencies of government and hold hearing to adjudicate on petitions against them.

He further argued that before any summons could be issued out by the house or request for any documents or papers, the consent of the president must be sought, adding that the defendants never followed such process.

Alison-Madueke further submitted that even the summons was issued, such must be published in the gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and must also be published in the journal of the National Assembly.

In addition, the plaintiffs added that the defendants without complying with Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution could not summon them.

They further submitted that the actions of the defendants via the language used in the vote proceedings showed that they have taken a position against them without following the principles of fair hearing.

The plaintiffs however prayed the court to set aside the invitation and the probe.
Opposing the argument, the defendants through their counsel, A.B Mahmud (SAN) and Yakubu Maikyau, (SAN) prayed the court to dismiss the argument of the plaintiffs.

They said that the National Assembly has not issued any summons on the plaintiffs, rather an invitation.

They further submitted that the plaintiffs have approached the court because they were panic, of what the outcome of the invitation could be.

On publishing the summons in a gazette, the defendants submitted that the vote of proceedings for that day could be used as a journal.

They therefore prayed the court to allow the probe.
In the suit Alison-Madueke wants the court to stop the defendants from asking her to present papers, notes or documents before any such committee or the giving of any evidence by the relevant public officers.

After hearing all the parties, the trial judge, Justice Ahmed  Mohammed adjourned till December 17 for judgment.

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