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31 Aug 2017

MRS MATO'S CONSTITUENT, DRAGS SPEAKER DOGARA TO COURT FOR FAILING TO SWEAR HER IN AS MEMBER HOUSE OF REPS DESPITE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has been dragged to court for failing to swear-in Dorathy Mato, lawmaker whom the supreme court declared as the representative of Vandikwa/Konshisha federal constituency of Benue state.

The Supreme Court had on June 23, ruled that Hon. Herman Hembe, former chairman of the house committee on the federal capital terittory (FCT), did not win the ruling party’s ticket to represent the constituency. The court also ordered Hembe to refund all the salaries and allowances he had earned in two years.Two months after judgment was delivered, The Speaker has yet to swear her in.

See copy of the press release containing the suit as filed by her constituent ,Fidelis Ahangba and his legal team.

SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA SUED FOR FAILURE TO SWEAR IN MEMBER REPRESENTING ME AT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Dear Friends,

You will recall that, on Friday June 23, 2017 the Supreme Court of Nigeria (SCoN), presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, in a unanimous judgement, declared Hon. (Mrs) Dorathy Mato as the validly elected Member representing Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives (HoR).

The apex Court further ordered that Hon (Mrs.) Mato be sworn in "forthwith", as member of the HoR. Regrettably, it is a little over 8weeks since the judgement of the SCoN, and yet, Hon. (Mrs) Mato has yet to take her rightful position in the green chambers.

Obviously dissatisfied with this state of affairs I briefed my lawyers to explore all available legal avenues for challenging this grave infraction of the legal process, and disregard for the clear orders of the highest court of the land.

I am pleased to intimate you that, earlier today, my lawyers delivered at the Registry of the Federal High Court, Makurdi Division, court processes against the HoR, Speaker Dogara, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Hon. Herman Hembe and Hon. (Mrs) Dorathy Mato.

The Reliefs we seek are as follows:

1. A DECLARATION THAT the failure, refusal or neglect of the 2ND Respondent to swear in the 4TH Respondent “forthwith”, as Member representing Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency Benue State, as ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, amounts a flagrant violation of the vested fundamental right of the Plaintiff to freely participate in governance.

2. A DECLARATION THAT, by the aforementioned refusal, failure or neglect, the 2NDRespondent is palpably in contravention of his Oath of Office as member of the National Assembly and in flagrant disobedience to the Code of Conduct for public officers contained in the fifth schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

3. AN ORDER COMPELLING THE 2ND Defendant to immediately, and without any further delay, swear in the 5TH Defendant and accord her all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a member of the House of Representatives.

4. AN ORDER COMPELLING THE 1ST – 3RD Defendants, jointly and severally, to pay N5,000,000 to the Plaintiff as exemplary damages for violation of his vested fundamental right.

5. AN ORDER COMPELLING THE 1ST – 3RD Defendants, jointly and severally, to pay N100,000,000 to the Plaintiff as General Damages for wilful and flagrant violation of his vested fundamental right.

A date has not been fixed for hearing since the Federal High Court is on annual vacation

In my view, we cannot sit by and lament this unfortunate situation without taking any steps towards any remediation process. We cannot watch public officers, especially those charged with the responsibility of presiding over institutions of our democracy, treat the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the sacred principle of the rule of law, and the judgement of the highest court of the land, with such disdain and disregard.

Democracy is about the rule of law, and those who are active participants, or beneficiaries of our democratisation process, must keep this in mind, both in their actions and utterances.

I like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my team of lawyers ably led by FD Tyokase, Esq. together with MT Utsaha, Esq, MK Fidelis, Esq., DA Orshi, Esq., and TT Akuha, Esq. for believing in this cause, and for their overall contribution to the development of the law and to the democratisation process in our country Nigeria.

Fidelis Angweh Ahangba
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