Nigeria’s highest court of appeal, the Supreme Court, has rescheduled for Monday the hearing of the case between President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly over dispute arising from the Fourth Alteration of the 1999 Constitution Amendment Bill.
The Supreme Court had earlier fixed June 19 for the hearing, when the tenure of the current 7th Assembly would have expired.
The rescheduling followed an application by the National Assembly, through its lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, that the case should come up for hearing before June 5, the expiry date of the current Assembly.
A copy of the new hearing notice reads, “Take notice that the above motion will be listed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting at Abuja on Monday 25th day of May 2015.
“And further take notice that in accordance with Order 2 Rule 1(2) of the Supreme Court Rules 1985, as amended, this notice is deemed sufficiently served on you if it is left at your address for service or sent by registered post and since the date of service by post is material, section 26 of the Interpretation Act, 1c64 shall apply.”
The National Assembly is praying the Court to dismiss the interlocutory orders of injunction made on May 7, 2015, which barred the lawmakers from overriding the president’s veto.
The National Assembly had sent the passed Amendment Bill to Mr. Jonathan for his assent but the President vetoed the Bill.
The Nigerian legislative arm then threatened to override the presidential veto, but was restrained by the apex court.
The Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, asked the apex court to make an order nullifying and setting aside Sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Bill, 2015 purportedly passed by the Defendant.
Mr. Awomolo said the National Assembly was inaugurated on June 6, 2011 for a term of four years and that the four-year lifespan of the 7th National Assembly would terminate on June 6th 2015 and the case would therefore become abated.
“It is in the interest of justice and the good people of Nigeria that this suit be given expeditious hearing and determination,” he urged the Court.
Also, the National Assembly’s counsel asked the court to dismiss the originating summons filed by the Attorney General of the Federation on the grounds that:
“The originating summons dated 22nd April 2015 is incompetent, fundamentally and incurably defective and thereby robs the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction.
“There is no known or reasonable cause of action disclosed in the orginating summons to ground jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
“The originating summons filed by the plaintiff is an improper and or reckless invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.”
He further argued that the AGF was not competent to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under the Supreme Court (additional jurisdiction) Act.
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