Fred Itua, Abuja
One week after the leadership of the Senate dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court, following what it described as the illegal suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Red Chamber has made a U-turn.
The Senate announced yesterday that it was discontinuing the case. It hinged its decision on the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC). The statement announcing the withdrawal of the suit was signed by the media aide to the President of the Senate, Yusuph Olaniyonu, though the statement ought to have been signed by the spokesman of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
The statement reads: “The Senate has ordered the discontinuation of the case it filed at the Supreme Court on the suspension of Hon. Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen. This follows the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) on the issue.
“The Senate has, therefore, decided to discontinue the case it filed in the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the case had been slated for hearing tomorrow. This decision also affirms the confidence of the Senate in the ability of the NJC to successfully and creditably resolve the issues.”
Despite the withdrawal of the suit, the Senate APC caucus said it has applied to the Supreme Court to be joined in the suit. It could not be immediately verified if the application was made before the Senate withdrew the suit.
In a statement signed by the leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, the caucus said it was challenging the inclusion of its members by the Senate’s leadership.
The statement said: “The Senate caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), consisting 56 senators, being the majority party in the Senate, today (yesterday), Monday, February 4, 2019, applied to the Supreme Court to join in the suit purportedly filed by the Senate against the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as interested parties.
“The APC senators rely on the Supreme Court (Additional Original Jurisdiction) Act of 2002, which provides that the resolution of the respective chambers of the National Assembly is a prerequisite of filing such suit.”