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Keyamo: Group Drags Senate President to Court Over Interference, Abuse of Power

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From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – An Enugu based human rights organization, operating under the banner of Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja against the President of the Nigeria  Senate,  Ahmed Ibrahim  Lawal, and two other defendants over  alleged abuse of power and interference in the proposed special public works programme of the federal government.

The federal government of Nigeria intends to create a total of 774,000 jobs to be distributed equally among all the 774 local government in country.

Also joined in the case with suit No.FHC\ABJ\CS\756\2020 is Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and the Director General of National Directorate of Employment NDE, Dr. Nasiru Ladan  Argungu.

According to the suit documents made available to African Examiner in Enugu by president of (CRRAN), Barrister Olu Omotayo, the organization is seeking interpretation of 2 questions as it affects the powers of the National Assembly NASS, or whether the directives of the President of the Senate to suspend and supervise the programme can invalidate the provisions of the National Directorate of Employment Act 1989.

The Plaintiff also “sought interim Injunction and Interlocutory Injunction to restrain the 1st Defendant his agents or privies from further interfering with the executive powers of the Federal Government of Nigeria in administering the “Special Public Works Programme” for the benefit of the poor masses in Nigeria.

In its affidavit in support of the application, the Plaintiff, stated among other things why the interpretation of the constitution in this regard becomes necessary, that:

“That the 1st defendant on or about the 7th day of July 2020, gave a directives that the 3rd defendant should be reporting to him or the National Assembly in respect of the Federal government of Nigeria “Special Public Works Programme” aimed at alleviating the suffering of the poor masses in the country.

It argued that “the action and activities of the 1st defendant is capable of frustrating the scheme/ programme aimed at alleviating the suffering of the poor citizens of this country.

The Plaintiff therefore, submit that the power of investigation confers on the National Assembly by section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) does not extend to the management, operating and running the affairs of the ministry or government departments.
 
It equally submit that it is reckless for the 1st defendant to give a directive which is ultra vires the powers of the legislature to the 3rd defendant whose activities is regulated by the National Directorate of Employment Act.

“The 2 questions of which interpretation of the Court is being sought are: A. Whether by virtue of the express provisions of Section 3(2), 6(2), Section 15 and 16(1) of the National Directorate of Employment Act the 1st Respondent can give a lawful directives to the 3rd Defendant to be reporting directly to the him or the National Assembly in respect of the Federal Government “Special Public Works Programme”.

“Whether the directives of the 1st Defendant directing the 3rd Defendant to be reporting directly to him or the National Assembly in respect of the “Special Public Works Programme” of the Federal Government of Nigeria is not ultra vires the powers of the National Assembly and contrary to the provisions of Section 58, Section 59 and Section 88, of the Constitution of the Federal of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“Upon the Determination of the above questions, the Plaintiff shall sought inter-alia the following reliefs; a. A Declaration that the directives of the 1st Defendant directing the 3rd Defendant to be reporting directly to him in respect of the “Special Public Works Programme” of the Federal Government is a flagrant violation of Sections 3(2), 6(2), Section 15 and 16(1) of the National Directorate of Employment Act, and is therefore illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
  
“A declaration that the directives of the 1st Respondent directing the 3rd Respondent to be reporting directly to him or the National Assembly respect of the “Special Public Works Programme” of the Federal Government of Nigeria constitutes an assault on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,(As amended) and also  a grave violation of the Oaths of Allegiance he swore, to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant, his agents or privies from further interfering with the executive powers of the Federal Government of Nigeria in administering the “Special Public Works Programme” for the benefit of the poor masses in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for hearing.

Recall that the minister of state for labour and productivity, Festus Keyamo had clashed with the senate over implementation of the planned 774,000 special jobs to be created by the federal government.

Contrary to demands of Senators, Mr Keyamo insisted that the constitution empowers his office to supervise the execution of the programme.  


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