An Abuja Federal High Court has stopped members of the House of Representatives from probing the Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Alison-Madueke for allegedly hiring jet for N10 billion.
According to P.M NEWS report, Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had approached the court to stop the lawmakers from probing the allegation.
It was disclosed that while delivering his judgment, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that although the lawmakers had the power to summon the minister, they did not follow due process in doing so.
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Mohammed also held that the House of Representatives ought to have presented before the court a journal or gazette of the resolution of the meeting where it agreed to invite Madueke.
“None of the defendants produced the published resolution where it was said that the plaintiffs should be invited.
“The defendants ought to have brought before the court the resolution of its meeting wherein the plaintiffs were invited to appear before it.
“There is no evidence before the court that there was a resolution to invite the plaintiffs and by this act, it renders the summons invalid.
“Therefore, the letter of invitation served on the plaintiffs, is hereby set aside because of the failure of the House of Representatives to produce the resolution as duly published in the gazette or journal,” he said.
Meanwhile, the court dismissed the submission of the plaintiffs’ counsel that the lawmakers lacked the power to summon them without the President’s consent and refused to grant the prayer.
“The National Assembly in the discharge of its duty does not need any presidential consent to invite a public officer to come and defend how he managed a public property such the aircraft in his/her care.
“What the House is asking for is not a confidential document that needed the consent of the President before it would be released, but rather a public property placed in care of a public servant”, the court held.
It was gathered the counsel to the plaintiff, Etigwe Uwa (SAN), had in the originating summons, argued that the lawmakers lacked constitutional power to carry out an oversight function on Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Uwa contended that the consent of the president must be sought first before any summons could be issued out by the House or request for any documents or papers.
The counsel argued that such summon must first be published in the gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and must also be published first in the journal of the National Assembly in line with sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution.
It would be recalled that Alison-Madueke recently emerged as the first female president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Alison-Madueke was elected at OPEC’s 166th General Meeting held in Vienna, Austria.
She replaces former President of OPEC, Libyan Vice Prime Minister for Corporations, Abdourhman Atahar Al-Ahirish.
Meanwhile, Ex-Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, in a recent chat with journalists, had stated that if he was in the presidential position he would have fired Allison-Madueke.
The former Obasanjo vice, had described the level of corruption in the present government especially at the federal level, saying something urgent must be done to address the anomaly.