Supreme Court yesterday gave the Federal Government and the National Assembly 48 hours to resolve their dispute over amendments to the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The apex court directed the two parties to meet and harmonise their positions on the grounds that the issue in dispute can be resolved without the intervention of the court.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who led a seven-member panel of Justices of the court, issued the ultimatum, following another dispute on application by counsel to the Federal Government, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) to substitute the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the plaintiff in the suit.
Ojo had applied to the court to withdraw the AGF and replaced him with President as plaintiff, but was opposed by counsel to the National Assembly, Chief Adegboyega Awomola (SAN) on the ground that both the application and the originating summons were incurably defective having sued the National Assembly through an improper party who is the AGF.
In his application dated 20th May, 2015, Ojo had sought to cure the defectiveness of the suit.
The panel disagreed with Ojo on the ground that even if the name of the AGF was struck out, the application will still be defective.
The CJN advised Ojo to withdraw the entire originating summons and the application on the ground that no judge can amend affidavit evidence, except the maker and advised him to come back with a fresh suit.
However, the inability of the counsel to the National Assembly to give an undertaking on preservation of the last order on status quo prompted the court to ask parties to go and reconcile and bring back the report of reconciliation to the court tomorrow.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the apex court had earlier fixed June 18, 2014 for hearing of the matter, but had to re-adjust it to yesterday because of the appeal by the Nation Assembly that its tenure will end on June 8, 2015.
President Goodluck Jonathan had declined to assent to the amendments after the National Assembly forwarded the document relating to the said amendments to him and instead, wrote back to the National Assembly, giving reasons for not appending his signature to the amendments and the National Assembly in turn, threatened to override the President’s veto after 30 days as constitutionally provided.
The President, in a swift move, instituted a suit against NASS at the Supreme Court seeking to annul the amendments.
Earlier, Chief Ojo told the court that the subject-matter of the suit was the President’s grouse against the procedure employed by NASS in the amendment to the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution, adding further that NASS failed to comply with Section 8 and Section 9 of the constitution in carrying out the amendment, thereby, necessitating the President’s withdrawal of his assent.


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