•Ozekhome hails judgement
From Willy Eya, and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
With yesterday’s Supreme Court sacking of Senator Sani Abubakar Danladi, representing Taraba North District and Herman Hembe, House of Representatives member for Vandikwa/ Konshisha constituency, both lawmakers would refund N34m and N27m respectively to the coffers of the National Assembly.
Breakdown according to Saturday Sun findings showed that while Senators earn N17.032 million as basic annual salary which in two years is about N34 million, a member of the House of Representatives earns N13.677 per annum totalling N27 million. The figures are outside the allowances and sundry emoluments and privileges enjoyed by the lawmakers. Herman Hembe who has courted various controversies in the House was asked to vacate the seat for Mrs. Dorathy Mato who the court said won the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the constituency.
The embattled lawmaker had a running battle with the former Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh over allegations that Hembe demanded a N5 million bribe from her. Hembe was also accused by Oteh of obtaining a flight ticket and other expense money for a foreign assignment from SEC but failed to utilize same and did not make a refund either.
Early this year, Hembe also had an altercation with the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim over alleged irregularities in the agreement on the Centenary City.
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) which he was the chairman were to grill Anyim when the former SGF told the members that Hembe lacked the integrity to do so having been accused of corruption by the former SEC boss.
Reacting to the judgement, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), chief Mike Ozekhome said the Supreme Court was right in its decision and argued that the sacked lawmakers should refund the money as they were not qualified to receive it in the first place.
He said the Supreme Court is the father of all courts in Nigeria and whatever it says remains final and that anybody dissatisfied with its judgment can only appeal to God.
The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) said the sack of Senator Danladi and Hembe will go a long way in checking impunity in political parties. The PDP acting National Publicity Secretary, Hon Bernard Mikko told Saturday Sun yesterday that the Supreme Court judgment is a boost to democracy in the country.
He noted that lack of internal democracy and abuse of office in most political parties in the country has been one of the biggest challenges confronting the nation’s democracy.
When contacted for comments, the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media, Abdulrasak Namdas said the House will miss Hembe’s participation in parliament proceedings and that of other members of the House that have been sacked by the courts.
Herman Iorwase Hembe hails from Mbakpor clan in Mbake council ward of Konshisha local government area of Benue State.