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Senate Rejects Court Order Restraining Amendment To Electoral Act

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan

March 08, (THEWILL) – The senate on Tuesday rejected a court order restraining it from carrying out a further amendment to the newly signed Electoral Act.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who vowed to work on the amendment sought by President Muhammadu Buhari to the new Electoral Act, said: “no court process can stop the National Assembly from performing its legislative duties.”

Lawan made the declaration just as the official communication from President Buhari scaled first reading on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday.

Lawan said, “No court process can stop the National Assembly from performing its legislative duties. The judiciary knows that we have our processes.

“If the president writes the National Assembly, to request for an amendment, it is for the National Assembly to decide whether it agrees with Mr. President or not but to say we cannot consider it is to ask for what is not there to be given.

“I believe that members of the National Assembly know their work, their onions, and would do what is right.

“We are following due process by taking the first reading. It is our duty to consider any communication from the president.

“The judiciary under no circumstances cannot stop the National Assembly from performing its duties.”

THEWILL reports that the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, had in a ruling on Monday, restrained the National Assembly among other defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/247/2022, from expunging section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act or preventing it from being implemented for the 2023 general election.

The defendants in the suit are; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Clerk to the National Assembly, Senate Leader, House of Representatives Leader, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Others are; Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Deputy Senate Leader, and Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives.

President Muhammadu Buhari had before he signed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2022 into law, asked the National Assembly to expunge section 84 (12) of the Act, which he argued would disenfranchise serving political appointees.

The section specifically made it mandatory that political office holders must first resign from office before they could vie for any elective position.

Meanwhile, PDP, in the substantive suit it filed through its team of lawyers led by Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), challenged the legality or otherwise of the National Assembly tinkering with the Electoral Act, after it had been signed into law by the president.