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Saraki: Court bars EFCC, CCT, others from probes

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  • Buhari laments frosty relationship with NASS

AS THE Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja has given orders, restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and three others from proceeding with their renewed probe of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the frosty relationship between the executive and the eighth National Assembly.

Justice Taiwo, the presiding judge, who gave the orders in two rulings delivered on two ex-parte motions filed by Saraki along with two fundamental rights enforcement applications, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/507/2019 and FHC/ABJ/CS/508/2019, said the orders were to subsist pending the hearing and conclusion of the two fundamental rights suits by Saraki.

Among those to be affected by the restraining orders issued on Tuesday by Justice Taiwo Taiwo are the Department of State Services (DSS), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Arguing the ex-parte motions, Saraki’s lawyer, Sunday Onubi, said unless restrained, the respondents would cause irreparable damages to the applicant’s rights before the substantive suits were heard.

He prayed the court “for an order directing the respondents, by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or officers to stay all actions in connection with the subject matter of this suit, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice.”

He said the motion was supported by 37 paragraphs affidavit, deposed to by the applicant (Saraki), with four exhibits attached, marked ABS 1, to ABS 4

Onubi said he also filed another 37 paragraphs affidavit of urgency, with four exhibits.

He made similar argument in relation to the other ex-parte application.

In his first three rulings, Justice Taiwo said: “There is no doubt that the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 is a special proceeding with its stated rules and procedure.

“By the provision of Order 4(3) of the Fundamental Rights-Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, the court may, if satisfied that hardship may be caused to the applicant before the service of an application where liberty or life of the applicant is involved, hear the application ex parte upon such interim reliefs as the justice of the application may demand.

“There is no doubt that, in making the interim reliefs or orders, the court is guided, even in its exercise of its discretion judicially and judiciously applied by the law and statues.

“Here comes in the rules and of course, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“One of the considerations, which is paramount, is the hardship the applicant may go through, between the service of the processes and the hearing of the main motion, amongst others.

“I have gone through the affidavit in support of the ex parte application particularly paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35.

“I also duly considered the averments in the affidavit of urgency and all the exhibits attached.

“I am of the view, after due consideration of the aforesaid averments, that this court ought to make the order being sought by the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice.

“To do otherwise and not to restrain the respondents by asking them not to stay actions will result in the court being faced with a fait accompli”.

In another development, President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the frosty relationship between the executive and the eighth National Assembly, saying that it does  not offer  the best for national cohesion.

Speaking while hosting the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and his colleagues in the leadership of the National Assembly at a  breaking of fasting dinner, the president prayed for a better working relationship between the two arms of government in the forthcoming ninth National Assembly.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement said the president said the nation deserved better than it got from the current National Assembly.

“Relations between the executive and the legislature were not the best in the 8th National Assembly. I sincerely hope each one of us will do his utmost to ensure there is a better working relationship between these two arms of government in the ninth assembly so that we can serve the people better,” he said.

According to the statement, the president said the principal task of the National Assembly “is to cooperate with the executive so that together, we can fashion policies that will lift our people out of poverty and out of illiteracy.

“I appeal to the distinguished senators and honourable members to subordinate all personal interests and ambitions to the imperative of working for the common good of our people.”

It also said the president congratulated the members-elect on their success in winning their constituency seats, adding that “this is a great burden and a great responsibility placed on you by your people. Our citizens are faced with challenges of poverty.”

The president was also quoted as saying: “Your principal task is to cooperate with the executive so that together, we can fashion policies that will lift our people out of poverty and out of illiteracy.

“I appeal to the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members to subordinate all personal interests and ambitions to the imperative of working for the common good of our people.”

The president also assured the leaders that his doors remain open “to all of you who have genuine concerns or advice to improve the quality of governance and service delivery to our people”, according to the statement.

According to the statement, Saraki assured the president that the National Assembly would maintain focus on national interest at all times.

The event was also attended by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; and the Deputy Speaker, Hon Yusuf Lasun, the Majority and Minority Leaders and the Majority and Minority Whips and their deputies.

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