By Ibrahim Sulaiman
A Court of Appeal in Abuja has refused to stay proceeding in the case filed by suspended member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, at the Federal High Court seeking it to quash his suspension.
At Thursday’s hearing, the chairmen of the House Committees on Ethics and that of House Rule, Nicholas Ossai and Emmanuel Orkev respectively had sought a stay of proceeding of the substantive suit pending at the Federal High Court.
Counsel to Mr Jibrin, Femi Falana, argued that the application for stay lacked merit as the appellants, who were not parties to the substantive suit did not first seek the leave of the court to appeal.
He further sought the court to grant expeditious hearing, arguing that Mr Jibrin’s constituents have been illegally denied representation for almost a year.
Mr Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, further informed the court that such has been the antics of counsel to the defendants (Dogara and House of Representatives).
The fiery lawyer said their motive was obviously to delay proceeding and ensure the substantive matter is not heard.
Hakeem Kareem, counsel to Messrs Ossai and Orkev could not defend the justification of his application when asked to defend same by the court.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal ruled that it does not grant application of such nature and therefore dismissed the application for stay of proceeding of the substantive suit.
The court therefore granted Mr Falana’s prayer for application for accelerated hearing of the main appeal, fixing June 12 for hearing of the main appeal.
On April 13, the Federal High Court refused to join Messrs Ossai and Orkev as co-defendants to the substantive case.
The trial judge declared both of them as “meddlesome interlopers” who have no business in the substantive case.
Mr Falana had earlier informed the court that the substantive case pending before the Federal High Court is time-bound, which gives the Court of Appeal the original jurisdiction to hear the case as a court of first instance.
Mr Jibrin was suspended from the House of Representatives for 181 legislative days for blowing whistle of budget padding and corruption by some principal officers of the House.