Former Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, yesterday declared that he had been vindicated with Federal High Court, Abuja’s declaration of his suspension by the Senate as illegal and unconstitutional.
The Borno South senator said that he never committed any offence that should have warranted his suspension by the Senate.
Justice Babatunde Quadri held yesterday that the suspension of Ndume for 90 legislative days “is a violation of his right to fair hearing and freedom of expression as guaranteed by sections 36 and 39 of the extant Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 7(1) and 9(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, 2004.”
Ndume said that he approached the Court when he was suspended for declaratory judgment to challenge the action of the Senate and to ask the court to declare the decision totally illegal against the backdrop that there was no cause for him to be suspended in the first place.
He expressed happiness over the judgement and noted that the Senate erred because it lacked the right to suspend a member more than two weeks, which is “what our rules say.”
“So where they got the power to suspend me for six months was what I approached the court to seek declaration, and the court has so declared that it was not right and it was illegal.”
Ndume said he had put everything that happened behind him, including the entitlements he was denied of during the suspension.
The lawmaker, who said that it was not possible to reverse the period he was on suspension, added that he had left everything including those behind the process to God.
He said that he had received a letter from the Clerk to the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, intimating him that his suspension would be over on Tuesday 14th November, 2017.
He said that he would resume plenary on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
Ndume said: “I am just from court and I thank God that the court has declared my suspension unconstitutional, illegal and null and void, and that was what I approached the court for declaratory judgment and I got that judgment today.
“So, that nullifies my suspension which hitherto or ab initio I said it was illegal, because first of all, there was no cause for me to be suspended because I didn’t do anything that would have warranted my suspension in the first place.
“And secondly also, the Senate doesn’t have the right to suspend a member more than two weeks. That is what our rules say. So, where they got the power to suspend me for six months was what I approached the court to seek declaration and the court has so declared that it was not right and it was illegal.
“Even though I have already spent out my illegal suspension time, I did that not because of my person but because of the institution so that individuals cannot just because they are elected one among equal to lead the institution, to take advantage or abuse the process and I thank God for that.
“And I also thank God that I am alive to have seen it, because as I said several times, so many members lost their seats. A member died in the Senate, two or three members died in the House of Representatives and I am not better than them in any way. It could have been me. So this power or this thing is just a transient thing.
“I thank God for that and for today, for me to be able to see that judgment too. And this is not victory for myself. It is not personal. It is not that I am trying to prove anything. I am saying that as part of somebody who has been in this democratic institution for over 14years now, it behoves of me when things like this happen to see that things are done correctly, and I hope that my colleagues who have done that will equally see the wisdom in the judgment of today.
“It is not a victory or anything; it is just strengthening democracy and doing what is right.”