Appeal Court reverses sack of Niger East Senator, Umaru

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which sacked Senator David Umaru as the All Progressives Congress’ (APC’s) candidate for the Niger East senatorial seat.

The Federal High Court had, in a February 7, 2019 judgment, declared Muhammed Sani Musa as the validly nominated candidate for the seat, a decision appealed by Umaru, the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters Committee.

In a unanimous judgment of a three-man panel, the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal by Umaru and dismissed the objection filed by Musa.

In the lead judgment by Justice Stephen Adah, the Court of Appeal voided the certificate of return issued to Musa by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The appellate court, in the judgment given on Monday, agreed with the appellant that the trial court erred in law to have assumed jurisdiction over the suit brought by Musa and granted the reliefs sought.

The Appeal Court held that the suit filed at the lower court was statute barred and caught up by section 285(9) of the 4th alteration Act of the 1999 constitution, therefore, the trial court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to have entertained it.
The court also held that the suit was not filed within the mandatory 14 days period after the cause of action, as provided for by section 285 (9) of the 1999 constitution.
“The suit was caught up by the prescribed constitutional time limit of 14 days having been predicated on the event that took place on the 2nd October, 2018. The originating summons was dated and filed on October 26, 2018 while the subject matter of the suit centred on the event of October 2, 2018,” Justice Adah held.

Musa had, in his objection, challenged the appeal on the grounds that the appellant had no locus standi to have filed the appeal without the name of his political party, the APC.

He equally argued that the appeal has become an academic exercise since the election had been conducted and a winner had emerged



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