Supreme Court hears Obasanjo, Atiku suit Thursday

1 Comment » January 23rd, 2007 posted by // Categories: General Articles



GUARDIAN

January 23, 2007

 

 

Supreme Court hears Obasanjo, Atiku suit
Thursday
From Lemmy Ughegbe, Abuja

 

THE Supreme Court yesterday fixed
Thursday, January 25, to hear the suit brought by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,
seeking to stop the Federal Government’s bid to remove him as the nation’s
Vice President.

 

The apex court fixed the said date less than 72
hours after the records of proceedings were effectively transmuted to and
received by its registry, nine days after the Court of Appeal, Abuja
Division, referred it to the Supreme Court for “expeditious disposal”.

 

The Guardian exclusively reported yesterday
that the Supreme Court had received the case documents and would fix a
date for the hearing this week.

 

Meanwhile, a seven-man panel has been
named to adjudicate over the matter. Acting Chief Justice Idris
Legbo Kutigi heads the panel, which includes Justices Umar Kalgo,
George Oguntade, Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, Walter Sam Onnonghen, Tanko
Mohammed and C. M. Chukwuma-Eneh.

 

On January 12, the President of the
Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdulahi, ordered that the Vice
President’s suit be transferred to the apex court for a
conclusive determination of the constitutional issues in
dispute.

 

Sequel to the referral, however,
the appellate court granted an interim order restraining
the Federal Government from removing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
from office as the nation’s Vice President.

 

The order was without
prejudice to the preference of government’s counsel,
Adebayo Adenipekun, to giving an undertaking not to
tamper with the subject matter until the outcome at
the apex court.

 

In the terse ruling, the
appellate court held that government had failed to
show what injury or damage it would suffer if the
interim order was granted.

 

When hearing at the
apex court begins, the court would be called
upon to determine the following questions
posed by Atiku:

 

  • whether having
    regard to the combined provisions of
    Section 135 and 142(2) of the
    Constitution of the Federal Republic
    of Nigeria 1999, the plaintiff’s term
    of office as Vice President, Federal
    Republic of Nigeria which commenced on
    29th May, 2003 is vacant?;

     

  • whether having
    regard to the provisions of Section
    142, 143, 144 and 146 of the
    Constitution of the Federal Republic
    of Nigeria 1999, or any other
    provisions of the Constitution or any
    law, the President of the Federal
    Republic of Nigeria can declare vacant
    the office of the plaintiff as Vice
    President of the Federal Republic of
    Nigeria?; and

     

  • whether having
    regard to the provisions of Section
    308 of the Constitution of the Federal
    Republic 1999, the President of the
    Federal Republic of Nigeria can
    withdraw, tamper or interfere with or
    violate the immunity conferred on the
    plaintiff as the Vice President of the
    Federal Republic of Nigeria by that
    section and or direct his arrest or
    prosecution?

     

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One Response to “Supreme Court hears Obasanjo, Atiku suit Thursday”

  1. alukome says:

    AFP

    Nigeria VP challenges sacking
    26/01/2007 17:10 – (SA)

    Lagos – Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to hear a suit by vice-president Atiku Abubakar that seeks to restrain the president from sacking him for joining an opposition party, said court officials on Friday.

    Abubakar had approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the claims by President Olusegun Obasanjo that he had willingly vacated his office by defecting from the ruling People’s Democratic Party to the opposition Action Congress (AC).

    Instead of hearing the matter, the appeals court referred it to the country’s highest court, the supreme court, saying the issues involved may be constitutional.

    In a unanimous decision of the seven judges on Thursday, the supreme court said the case should be heard by the appeals court.

    "There was no order for reference of the case. The alleged reference of constitutional questions to us does not arise in law," it said.

    Obasanjo and his deputy have for several months been embroiled in a bitter row, publicly trading allegations of corruption.

    The Nigerian leader vowed not to support his deputy’s bid to succeed him when he is due to step down in May at the end of two terms.

    Abubakar therefore quit the ruling party and defected to the opposition AC, which chose him as its presidential candidate in the April 21 presidential poll.

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