A federal high court in Abuja has voided the suspension Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south senatorial district.
In March, the upper legislative chamber handed a six-month suspension to the lawmaker for allegedly embarrassing Senate President Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye, lawmaker representing Kogi west senatorial district.
Ndume had asked the senate to investigate the allegation that the red chamber was exacting vengeance on Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria customs service, because a bullet-proof car allegedly belonging to Saraki was seized by customs.
The Borno senator also demanded that Melaye should be probed for certificate forgery.
The senate committee on ethics and privileges, which looked into the issues, cleared Melaye and Saraki but recommended Ndume’s suspension.
At the court on Friday, Babatunde Quadri, a judge, ordered Ndume’s reinstatement.
He also directed the senate to ensure prompt payment of Ndume’s salaries and allowances.
Quadri described the suspension as an exhibition of lawlessness on the part of the senate.
“The suspension of the plaintiff (Ndume) is hereby declared illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. The purported suspension contained in the letter of March 30 is hereby set aside,” the judge ruled.
“The first and second defendants (the senate president and the senate) are hereby directed to pay the plaintiff his outstanding salaries and allowances forthwith.”
The judge, however, refused to grant the N500 million damages Ndume asked the court to award him.
“Relief on the issue of damages is hereby refused because I hope this will facilitate reconciliation in the senate between the plaintiff and other members of the senate and bring peace to our nascent democracy,” Quadri held.
In an interview last month, the lawmaker said until his suspension, he had not stayed without receiving salary or allowance since he left school.