From: FRED ITUA, Abuja
The Senate has revealed that a former Leader of the Senate, Sen. Ali Ndume, could resume, on Wednesday, having served out his suspension of 90 legislative days.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over Tuesday plenary, announced after a brief closed door session that lawmakers resolved to give nod to the resumption of the Borno-born lawmaker.
Ekweremadu said: “The Senate at a closed door session, resolved that Senator Ali Ndume should resume on Wednesday, 15th of November, 2017, having served out his suspension of 90 legislative days. This is without prejudice to the ongoing court process.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja had, last Friday, nullified the suspension of Ndume and described it as unconstitutional. The court also ruled that Ndume be paid his salaries and other entitlements withheld within the period under review.
Ndume, in mid 2015, was appointed as Senate Leader, despite strong objections from the leadership of his party, the APC.
He was sacked in December, 2016 and Ahmad Lawan, who was abnitio, anointed by APC to be the Senate President, was announced as Ndume’s replacement.
Ndume was suspended on the 27th of March this year, following the adoption of a report of the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which investigated him.
The Senate has however appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court. Counsel to the Senate, Mr. Mike Ozekhome, who appealed the judgment on behalf of the Senate, said The Red Chamber’s argument was supported by various and current decisions of the apex court.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which has the strong conviction that the decision of the trial court will be overturned by the Court of Appeal, has accordingly instructed the law firm of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers, to file an appeal against the judgment immediately.
The notice of appeal is ready and would be filed unfailingly by Monday morning. An application for a stay of execution of the orders of the court will also be filed same time,” Ozekhome had said in a statement released, on Sunday.
Ndume had, while fielding questions from newsmen, at the weekend, said he did not err in drawing the attention of the Senate to media reports. Instead, he said his move helped in resolving the issue.
He said: “I just called the attention of the Senate to what is going on in the media about Senator Dino Melaye and then the issue of the importation of a Range Rover and then I just drew the attention. In fact, the decision to investigate that case was not mine. Mine was to bring the attention. I would have been overruled.
“So for them to come behind to say you should have done the investigation is wrong. Investigate what? I just called the attention of the Senate to the fact that this is what was going on and everybody knew. So I was even expecting that the Senate would commend me because that point of order that I raised put the two cases to rest, otherwise it would have still been in the public domain.
“Like I said, you know you cannot reverse what has happened. Honestly, I leave everything with God. You see there is God oh. People would pay for what they do to me. Some of them have started seeing it already.”