An Abuja based civil society organisation, Center for Citizen’s Right and Awareness, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, over what it described as ‘undue delay’ in the case instituted by suspended member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, against the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and few others.
Others it petitioned include the President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The case with suite number FHC/ABJ/CS/812/2016 was brought before a judge of the federal high court in Abuja, John Tsoho.
Mr. Jibrin was suspended for 180 legislative days from the House of Representatives on September 28, 2016 by the leadership of the House of Representatives for levelling allegations of monumental budget fraud and padding against the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers of the house.
The other three people whom he accused alongside the speaker were Yusuf Lasun, the deputy speaker, Leo Ogor, the minority leader and Alhassan Ado-Doguwa who is the chief whip.
Mr. Jibrin was expected to resume by September 30 when it must have been at least 180 legislative days, but nothing has been said about his return as the house insists he must tender an apology. Mr. Jibrin had repeatedly refused to do this.
So far, he has been on suspension for 16 months as against the approximate 12 months suspension.
In a petition signed and distributed by Benedict Eluma, the group said the case which should have been dispensed with before the said 180 legislative days expired is still pending before the trial court.
He said the member has served out the 180 days suspension thereby placing him and his constituency in a very difficult position as this case may not be determined before the expiration of this current legislative term in 2019.
He also accused the House of Representatives of using delay tactics in frustrating the case, thereby dictating the pace for the judiciary.
“The Judiciary apart from being the last hope of the common man, has a constitutional duty to checkmate the excesses of other arms of government.
“Unfortunately in this case, which is of great national significance, the House of Representatives seems to have been dictating the pace for the judiciary as they have successfully used all manner of delay tactics to frustrate this case including introduction of meddlesome interlopers whom they introduced as parties interested in this case and when they were denied joinder in this case they appealed and the substantive suit had to be adjourned for about eight months to enable them appeal the said ruling.
“The said appeal was dismissed on the 7th day of November 2017 and they have indicated interest to appeal to the Supreme Court,” the petition read.
Mr. Eluma added that his group was concerned that unless the nation’s top judicial officers intervene in this case and direct that it should be expeditiously determined, Mr. Jibrin and his constituents may never return back to the House of Representatives before the end of the legislative term in 2019.
He called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and other relevant parties concerned to use their offices and direct that the case be given priority by the trial judge.