A Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to appear before it on Tuesday to answer questions on the ongoing investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order 2015.
The judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in his ruling, asked Arase to appear in court on August 4 to give reasons why the prayers sought by the plaintiff in his ex parte application should not be granted.
Kolawole gave the directive while ruling on an ex parte application by the senator representing Enugu-East Senatorial District, Gilbert Nnaji, seeking to restrain the IGP and the Attorney-General of the Federation from taking further steps on the investigation of alleged forgery in the Senate’s rules.
Rather than granting Nnaji’s prayer, Kolawole ordered the IG to appear in court on Tuesday to tell the court why it should not grant the request contained in the plaintiff’s ex parte motion.
Nnaji, through his counsel, Mr. P. J Nwokolo, had on Monday urged Kolawole to, among others, restrain further investigation of the allegation and publish its report.
The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/646/15, was filed before the release and sending of the Police Report to the AGF’s office for further action.
The IGP and the AGF are the two respondents to the suit.
Ruling on the ex parte application shortly after Nnaji’s lawyer moved it on Monday, Justice Kolawole held that he could not grant the restraining order at the level of ex parte hearing, since it was the same issue the plaintiff canvassed in their substantive suit.
He held that he needed to afford both the IGP and the AGF to be heard before taking a decision on the ex parte prayers.
The court also refused to grant the prayer for accelerated hearing on the grounds that it lacked the power to abridge the 30 days which the defendants were entitled to without their consent. It, however, ordered the plaintiff to serve the court processes on the defendants.
The judge also described as a little bit worrisome, the involvement of the police being an agency of the executive arm of government, in the case by inviting for questioning, certain members of the Senate.
He said, “The court is a bit wary on an ex parte proceeding to allow the plaintiff (Nnaji) to have his day in court because the courts are not created or established to supervise the National Assembly in the way and manner it will run its own constitutional duties, except where its acts border on a substantial infraction of the constitution, which goes beyond its own internal rules or procedure, or the application of its standing order.
“To do otherwise is to work to subvert the hallowed constitutional principles of separation of powers upon which the machinery of government is proposed to be run and to be operated.
“My decision is not to make orders directing both parties to maintain status quo as it is often misinterpreted by both parties.
“Rather, I will direct that the defendants, who had already been served with the originating summons, and the plaintiff’s motion of notice, shall on the return date, show cause why the orders being sought by the plaintiff on his motion ex parte dated and filed on 23-07-15, shall not be granted.”
The alleged forged Senate Standing Order was used for the conduct of the election which brought in the current leadership of the National Assembly on June 9, 2015.
Ike Ekweremadu, who emerged as the Deputy Senate President from the said election which took place shortly after the proclamation of the National Assembly, is representing Enugu-West while Nnaji, who went to court, is from Enugu-East.
The deputy senate president was among the senators and the management of the National Assembly, including the Clerk, Salisu Maikasuwa, questioned by the police over the alleged crime.