Falana demands immediate reinstatement of Sen. Ningi, gives Akpabio seven-day ultimatum

The law firm of Falana & Falana has written to the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio to request the lifting of the suspension slammed on Senator Abdul Ningi.

Recall that Sen. Ningi, a Peoples Democratic Party member representing Bauchi Central, raised the alarm that Akpabio and the presidency padded the budget currently being implemented against the budget passed by the chamber.

The allegation had generated public outrage even as the Senator representing Bauch State maintained his position that N3.7 trillion could not be accounted for in the 2024 budget.

Ningi, in an interview, claimed that while the budget passed by the National Assembly for the 2024 fiscal year was N25 trillion, the one being executed by the Presidency was N28.7 trillion.

In the letter dated March 25th and signed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, the lawyer noted that Ningi’s trial before the lawmakers on March 14 was contrary to the provisions of the Legislative Houses, Powers and Privileges Act, 2018, and violated their client’s fundamental right to a fair hearing.

Falana also said that the Senate by its actions violated the right of the entire people of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District to representation in the Senate for three months, a situation which is considered a breach of section 111 of the Constitution and Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

READ ALSO: Senate suspends Senator Abdul Ningi over budget padding claim

The senior advocate wondered why the senate president did not draw the attention of the lawmakers to a recent decision of the court which held that no parliament in Nigeria has the power to suspend or expel a legislator.

The letter reads in part, “We are Solicitors to Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi representing the Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereinafter referred to as “our client” on whose behalf we write this letter.

“On March 9, 2024, our client granted an interview to the BBC Hausa Service on the 2024 Appropriation Act.

“He expressed his views on the budget of the Federal Government in exercise of his fundamental right of freedom of speech guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“Dissatisfied with the interview, you caused our client to be put on trial before the Senate on March 14, 2024 contrary to the provisions of the Legislative Houses, Powers and Privileges Act, 2018.

“Even though it was alleged that you were indicted by our client in the interview, you presided over the proceedings of the Senate.

“It is on record that you were the accuser, the prosecutor and the Judge in your own case in utter violation of the provisions of section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“At the end of the trial, you pronounced our client guilty and declared that the Senate do suspend Senator Abdul Nigin for three months and he should forfeit all his entitlements and be disallowed from the precincts of the National Assembly Complex during the period of the suspension.

“He should also apologize to the Senate in writing, thereafter the Senate can consider his remorse and recall him.”

Falana said by his suspension, the Senate did not only violate Ningi’s fundamental right to fair hearing but also the rights of the people of his senatorial district.

“Apart from violating our client’s fundamental right to fair hearing, the Senate violated the right of the entire people of the Bauchi Central Senatorial District to representation in the Senate for three months. This is a breach of section 111 of the Constitution and article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.

“As you are no doubt aware, the Federal High Court had struck down the suspension of some members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who had accused the leadership of both houses of budget padding, corruption or abuse of office. Specifically, the court declared the suspension of the affected legislators illegal and unconstitutional.

“As a senior lawyer, you ought to have drawn the attention of the members of the Senate to these decisions and several others where the high courts of some states and the Court of Appeal have held that no parliament in Nigeria has the power to suspend or expel a legislator and confiscate his salaries and allowances.

“In view of the foregoing, you will agree with us that the suspension of Senator Ningi and the denial of his entitlements are illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular. We are compelled to request you to ensure that the said suspension is lifted forthwith,” the letter read.

Falana demanded that Ningi’s suspension be lifted within 7 days, failing which the matter will be taken to court for the reinstatement of his client as well as a report to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for treating the judgments of the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal with disdain.

Credible News.ng

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *