Falana: Constituents can challenge their lawmaker’s suspension in court

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer

Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, say constituents can challenge the suspension of their lawmaker
either in the national assembly or in any of the state house of assembly.

In a statement on Monday, the senior advocate of Nigeria also reiterated his earlier stance that neither of the two chambers have the right to suspend a lawmaker.

Three lawmakers have been suspended from the national assembly in the last one year: two in the senate and one
in the house of representatives.

In the case of the senate, the suspension of Ali Ndume, from Born south, was recently voided by a federal high court in Abuja which described it as “exhibition of lawlessness” on the part of the upper legislative chamber.

Citing the case between the Bauchi state house of assembly and Rifkatu Danna, in 2017, where the court of appeal affirmed an earlier judgment that the suspension of the lawmaker is illegal, Falana said such suspension infringes on the right of the constituents of the lawmaker involved.

“In my humble opinion, any member of the Bogoro constituency (where Danna is from) could have challenged the indefinite suspension of their choice representative in the Bauchi state house of assembly (in court) on the grounds that their accrued rights had been violated or breached by the appellants,” he said.

“The conduct of the appellants is the tyranny of the majority against an elected minority of the Bauchi state house of assembly.”

Falana referred to suspensions as in the case of Bauchi as “a mockery of democracy.”

“Even where there is a petition to recall a serving member of the house of assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acts timeously within ninety days of i.e the date of the receipt of the petition from the constituency to fill the vacancy,” he added.