Law News
Tambuwal’s Suit Stalled as His Constituents Ask Court to Stop Proceedings
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

The people of Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency of Sokoto State on Wednesday stalled proceedings in the suit filed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, challenging, among others, the withdrawal of his security aides.

Tambuwal had filed the suit before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja  to stop the declaration of his seat vacant on account of his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party on whose platform he was elected into the House.

However, the matter could not go on after people from Tambuwal’s constituency,  through their lawyers, told the court that they had filed separate applications for stay of proceedings in the suit.

Their applications for stay of proceedings were hinged on the grounds that they had filed notices of appeal against the ruling of the court which last Monday disallowed them from joining  the suit as defendants.

The people of Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency  have through the Chairman of Kebbe Local Government Area, Bala Konkani, and Chairman of Tambuwal Local Government Area,  Sambo Modo, applied to join the suit.

Three members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly – Abdussamad Dasuki, Suleiman Hantsi, and Shuaibu Umar – representing Tambuwal East, Tambuwal West and  Kebbe constituencies respectively, also filed an application to join the suit.

The constituents are opposed to Tambuwal’s removal as  Speaker and declaration of his seat vacant. They said that  removing him would deprive them of representation in the House of Representatives.

But Tambuwal had himself, through his lawyer, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), opposed the constituents’ request to join the suit on the grounds that he (Tambuwal) did not seek any relief  against them and as such they could not be accommodated as defendants in the suit.

In dismissing the applications, the court upheld Fagbemi’s contention and also held that their stance in the suit ran contrary to that of the existing co-defendants on record.

On Wednesday, the counsel for the local government chairmen, Mr. Israel Olorundare, SAN, and that of the Sokoto State legislators, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, informed the court that they had filed separate applications seeking leave to appeal against the court ruling based on mixed law and facts.

They added that they had filed notices of appeal against the court’s ruling in addition to applications for stay of proceedings.

The development stalled the proceedings on Wednesday which was scheduled for the hearing of Tambuwal’s application seeking an order of court to jail the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Suleiman Abba, for allegedly flouting an order of the court.

Mr. Jilbrin Okutepa (SAN), who represents Tambuwal yesterday  asked the court to adjourn the matter to enable him to respond to the applications for stay of proceedings filed by the parties seeking to be joined.

But the counsel for the PDP and its National Chairman, Mr. Yunus Ustaz (SAN), along with the lawyer of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the IG, Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), opposed the request for adjournment.

They insisted that it was more appropriate to hear the contempt application which was scheduled as the court’s business for the day.

Ruling on the request for adjournment, Justice Ahmed Mohammed said it would amount to denying parties seeking to be joined their rights to fair hearing and to appeal against the decision of the court if the court proceedings were allowed to go on without first hearing them.

The judge added that it would be tantamount to denying Okutepa fair hearing too if the court adopted the  suggestion by Ustaz and Okeaya-Inneh that responses to the applications for stay of proceedings should be done orally.

The judge adjourned the matter till December 9 for hearing of applications seeking leave to appeal, stay of proceedings and the one seeking an order compelling the IGP to appear in court.

The Speaker had on November 27 filed an application, alleging that Abba’s instruction to officers of the police force to deny him access into the premises of the National Assembly preventing him from carrying out his lawful duties on November 20, amounted to flouting the court’s order.

He added that Abba, in further disrespect of the order, on November 26, appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs and told the members that he would not recognise him (Tambuwal) as the Speaker.
“Everybody except Suleiman Abba, Esq, who is the Inspector General of Police, has been obeying the order of this honourable court made on November 7, 2014,” his supporting affidavit had read in part.

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