Onnoghen: Senate minority leader blasts APC caucus
SENATE minority leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, on Tuesday, condemned the statement credited to the Senate caucus of the All Progressives Congress(APC) dissociating itself from the suit instituted by the Senate against the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Senator Olujinmi, in a statement in Abuja, said that the APC caucus was guilty of spreading misleading information about how Senate decision to file a case in court is taken and who can authorise such a decision.
She faulted the claims credited to the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan, in which he dissociated the APC Caucus from the decision of the Senate to seek a legal interpretation of the suspension of the Justice Onnoghen.
She said that the decision to institute a court action is usually the prerogative of the presiding officer adding however that Senate President Bukola Saraki received the support of a majority of principal officers before the decision was taken.
The statement read: “I am surprised that a few of my colleagues in the APC Caucus are spreading disinformation that they were not a party to the decision to file a case seeking an interpretation of the provision of the constitution concerning the President’s decision to suspend the CJN.
“Those who are saying this are just being mischievous. They know such a decision is not meant for debate on the floor of the Senate. It is the prerogative of the presiding officer and in this particular case, the majority of the people in Senate leadership suggested and supported the idea. There is no precedent of when the decision on whether to resort to court is referred to the plenary. And there are several cases that the Senate has been and is still involved in.
“Incidentally, those our colleagues in the APC who are spreading this dis-information are those who have been in the Senate for many years and they know the rules, conventions and practices. That is why I consider their current position as mischievous.
“What do they stand to lose in our seeking judicial interpretation of the law? I believe as Democrats and lawmakers, it should be our interest to strengthen the law and support the independence of the judiciary. This recourse to the Supreme Court will only strengthen our understanding of the law and clear ambiguities about the provision of the constitution which we all swore to protect.
“It has always been my position that Nigeria is greater than any person or party. Therefore, as legislators, we should always take a position in the interest of the country and not allow partisan, party, group or individual interest to push us into taking a stand that will be counter to the national interest. As members of the Eighth Senate, we have always agreed among ourselves to stand for Nigeria even when it is against the preference of our party. My colleagues in the APC caucus should return to this agreement. It is Onnoghen today, it may be somebody else tomorrow.”