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LEGAL FACE-OFF | Femi Falana VS Mike Ozekhome { Can the Senate Suspend a Senator } VIDEOS

by on April 1, 2017
 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, has stated that the Senate has the right to summon it’s members to order at anytime.

“The Committee of the House or the House, can summon any person. it says any person, and it didn’t say some people.

“It didn’t say whether those elected or not elected. Any person; to bring papers, memos, come with evidence, and that if such a person is summoned to come and testify or to come and answer questions and he refuses to come, under Section 5, the Branch of the National Assembly can order the Police to arrest and bring such a person.”

He added that “the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives if satisfied that the person has entered into recognizance, they can release the person but if not satisfied, they can tell them to keep the person there.”

He made his position known while speaking on Channels Television’s Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

Mr Ozekhome’s view was however in contrast to that of his colleague, Mr Femi Falana, who believes that the Senate has no power to suspend a member even for a single day.

The lawyers made the comments while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. No legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” Mr Falana stressed.

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FEMI FALANA’S STATEMENT

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has stated that no legislative House has the power to suspend a member even for a single day.
He made the comment while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

The Senate spokesman was quoted to have said that although the 1999 constitution does not exactly state that the Senate has the power to suspend a member, they have the power to do so based on the internal House rules.

In reaction to this, the senior lawyer stated that: “The Senate labours under the very erroneous impression that it can do anything, whether allowed by law or not; particularly when it purports to exercising its oversight functions.

“Allegations of crime, certificate forgery, allegations regarding under-payment of Customs duties, are criminal offences that can only be investigated by the appropriate authorities such as the Police.”

According to him, “Section 88, which the Senate always relies on, begins with the phrase: “subject to the provisions of this constitution”, which means the powers of the Police, the powers of the Auditor General of the Federation, the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, the powers of the President, take presidence over the powers of the Senate to carry out an investigation.
“The Senate with profound respect, the House of Representatives with Profound respect, cannot investigate allegations of crime. That is within the constitutional province of the Police.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. Take for instance, no legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” he stressed.

Recalling a similar situation that occurred in 2010, Mr Falana said: “As a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Dino Melaye and 10 others, out of frustration, submitted a petition to the EFCC, alleging criminal diversion of funds by the Dimeji Bankole-led leadership of the House.”

According to him, the Senators had claimed that the House had been terrorized and scandalized and despite the advice given by lawyers to allow the law take its course, as a petition had been sent to the appropriate agency of government, they still refused to take their hands off the case.

“Dino Melaye and 10 others were suspended indefinitely. I went to court for them and the court said: “Under your own rules, you cannot suspend a member for more than 14 days – Under what law did you suspend these 11 members of the House of Representatives for an indefinitely period of time?”

He made the comment while addressing the Senate’s recent suspension of one of its members, Senator Ali Ndume, for allegedly bringing the House to disrepute, as well as the investigation and summoning of some of its members.

The Senate spokesman was quoted to have said that although the 1999 constitution does not exactly state that the Senate has the power to suspend a member, they have the power to do so based on the internal House rules.

In reaction to this, the senior lawyer stated that: “The Senate labours under the very erroneous impression that it can do anything, whether allowed by law or not; particularly when it purports to exercising its oversight functions.

“Allegations of crime, certificate forgery, allegations regarding under-payment of Customs duties, are criminal offences that can only be investigated by the appropriate authorities such as the Police.”

According to him, “Section 88, which the Senate always relies on, begins with the phrase: “subject to the provisions of this constitution”, which means the powers of the Police, the powers of the Auditor General of the Federation, the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, the powers of the President, take presidence over the powers of the Senate to carry out an investigation.

“The Senate with profound respect, the House of Representatives with Profound respect, cannot investigate allegations of crime. That is within the constitutional province of the Police.

“In matters regarding some of the distinguished Senators, the court has made definitive judicial pronouncements. Take for instance, no legislative House in Nigeria, can suspend a member for one single day and we have a plethora of authorities on this,” he stressed.

Recalling a similar situation that occurred in 2010, Mr Falana said: “As a member of the House of Representatives, Senator Dino Melaye and 10 others, out of frustration, submitted a petition to the EFCC, alleging criminal diversion of funds by the Dimeji Bankole-led leadership of the House.”

According to him, the Senators had claimed that the House had been terrorized and scandalized and despite the advice given by lawyers to allow the law take its course, as a petition had been sent to the appropriate agency of government, they still refused to take their hands off the case.

“Dino Melaye and 10 others were suspended indefinitely. I went to court for them and the court said: “Under your own rules, you cannot suspend a member for more than 14 days – Under what law did you suspend these 11 members of the House of Representatives for an indefinitely period of time?”

Mr Falana said subsequently, the court ordered an immediate reversal as well as the reinstatement of the senators.

He gave another instance involving the indefinite suspension of a member of the Bauchi House in 2012.

According to him, she was the only female and Christian in the House, consisting of 31 members and her suspension came as a result of a contribution she made, which the men considered as an ‘infra dignitatem’.

The case was however raised in court after a letter written to the House was ignored and the law was properly examined by the High Court as well as the Court of Appeal.

“Relevant constitutional provisions were now determined by the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal ruled that no legislative House has the power to suspend a member even for a single day,” he stated.

His colleague, Mike Ozekhome, however believes that the Senate has the right to summon anyone at anytime, regardless of their position.

 

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  • Tony
    April 1, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    The Senate should work strictly to the Nigerian constitution not any internal rules, for the constitution is clearly spelled out.

    Reply

  • Christian U
    April 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Mike Ozekhome is more of senior advocate of criminals. He consistently argues for criminals even when it is obvious he has no points. Demi Falana is a more sound lawyer who is always at home with the constitution, legal authorities, previous judgements and better logic.

    Reply

  • April 1, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    I don’t think Nigerian Leaders are really working for our interest expecially these so called Senators they are Banana monkies and also forces that swallowed the blessing of they goood people of these reputation country that our forefathers suffered to work things positively for ours today must of our leaders are practicing illuminati antichrist. People are spoken about formal degree ,phd,,dotocrate and proff but the for there history they don’t even no where they are coming from,nowadays people think that formal education is all about gaining the world but for me if you are educated you must poses informal education first that will guard you to the formal but if you cannot poses your religion,and culture background I think you are a big ilterate stop deceiving yourself calling yourself honourable senators but you can’t even solved a simple problem loook at there quincy-quincy word a disgrat and technical knock-out and shameful senators

    Reply

  • April 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    We all know about the legal practitional but we don’t even know the best SAN amount the two let me ask a question the constitution law of these country are they different you can see two lawyer aguiring without using common sense

    Reply

  • akin sodimu
    April 1, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Thomas, let me advice you to write and behave responsibly, lawyers like Femi and Mike are lawyers of competence and integrity, Two lawyers or two people may not agree on one issue, but this does not mean you must insult them. A word is enough for the wise! For me, having read the two sides of the legal Professional Discuss of Mike Ozekhome and Femi Falana, I have the feeling that the latter, professionally explained the issue at stake satisfactorily, My advice for the Senators is that, they should desist from any act capable of tarnishing Nigeria’s image, and also bringing the Senate and the Presidency into ridicule. They should face their job very squarely, and exercise their civic responsibility approximately as expected of them.

    Reply

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