By Christiana Ekpa and Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate, yesterday, announced the recall of the Senator representing Borno South Senatorial District, Mohammed Ali Ndume, to formally resume sitting in the Chamber after he was suspended from the National Assembly for eight months commencing 30th March.
This was in spite of the fact that Senator Ndume took the Red Chamber to court, challenging the legality of his suspension while asking the court to declare the action null and void.
The Senate had also indicated that it might extend the period of the suspension if Ndume failed to withdraw the court action against it.
The Senator defied the Senate by not withdrawing the case, in which he has obtained a favourable judgement, yet the Chamber caved in and recalled him to duty.
Announcing his recall after about ten minutes of closed-door session, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremedu, who presided over the session, said that the Senate had to recall him without prejudice to the court processes on the matter.
The apex legislative Chamber, on March 29, 2017, suspended Ndume, who was the former Majority Leader of the Senate, for allegedly bringing the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye and the institution of the Senate to disrepute.
Ndume fell into the trap of his colleagues for purportedly working against the interest of the Chamber, after he was ousted from office by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senate Caucus, in a conspiratorial fashion.
Some online media had published that Saraki imported Sport Utility vehicle (SUV) at the cost of N298 million, with fake Customs papers while also alleging that Senator Melaye did not graduate with certificate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Following the reports, Ndume relying on Senate Standing Orders 14 and 15, which deal with the privileges of senators, urged the Senate to thoroughly investigate these allegations because they had portrayed the apex chamber in a bad light as well as subjected it to public ridicule.
He said that the allegation on SUV car purchase had instigated insinuations that it was the alleged seizure of the purported bullet proof car allegedly imported by Saraki that led to the perceived persecution of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Rtd Col. Hameed Ali by the Senate.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions investigated the two allegations and exonerated both Saraki and Melaye, accusing Ndume of deliberately sabotaging and undermining the integrity of the Senate and its members.
The Committee therefore, recommended that Ndume be suspended for 181 sitting days, which would have been about one full year but after much intervention by his colleagues, the Senate resolved to reduce the punishment to six months.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, nullified the suspension of Ndume, from the Senate, describing it as illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
It consequently set aside the suspension letter, dated March 30, this year, and issued to the Borno South senatorial district’s representative by the senate.
The court also ordered the President of the senate and the senate, who were the first and the second respondents in the suit filed by Ndume, to pay him all outstanding salaries and allowances.
Even as the Upper Chamber went to court on Monday, November 13, 2017 to file an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, delivered in favour of senator Ndume 10th of November, 2017 by Justice Babatunde Quadri
Senate stated that, it respectfully disagrees with the said judgment.