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Election Timetable Hands off our duties, Senate leader tells Court

The Senate resolved to write to the CJN against perceived interference with its constitutional duty of lawmaking.

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The Nigerian senate during plenary play

The Nigerian senate during plenary


Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has cautioned the court against interfering with its constitutional duty of law making.

Lawan stated this while contributing to a motion by Senator Godswill Akpabio on the court ruling to prevent the Senate from overriding President Buhari's decision to reject the 2018 Electoral Act amendment.

Senator Akpabio told lawmakers that the decision of the Court would interfere with their job by trying to prevent them from amending the electoral act.

“The issue really is not the bill itself, it has to do with due process and parliamentary functions,” Akpabio said.

“I’m worried about the separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution. Can the court really rule an injunction, expatriate or otherwise, to stop the parliament from carrying out its constitutional duties? I’ve looked through the Nigerian constitution and in my view, I don’t think it is right for the court to interfere in the affairs of the parliament particularly when we see in the process of making legislation. We cannot be stopped by an injunction,” he added.

Similarly, Lawan described the court ruling as undemocratic.

Senator Ahmad Lawan play

Senator Ahmad Lawan



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His words: “I agree completely with the fact there is separation of powers and interdependence of various arms if government. The evolution and development of our democracy is at stake here, we should through all our institutions take actions and measures that will only enhance the development of democracy and especially our presidential system.

“I believe that the matter at stake does not require any court intervention, this is democracy at work. I don’t believe in that amendment, I voted against it, I will vote against it tomorrow but it is left for me to talk to my colleagues to see it the way I see it or if you want me to abandon my position, talk to me and that is how our democracy will develop.

“I believe that the courts should hands off what we do in the National Assembly. When we finally have a law and the courts feel it is against the constitution then they can come in and interpret, I agree with minority leader and I believe that the courts should be very careful.”

The Senate resolved to mandate the committee on Judiciary and Human Rights to liaise with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, on the matter to express the position of the red chamber.

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