Crisis of interests in the House of Representatives is set to be rekindled as 11 members of the House have dragged the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, the House and its clerk, Mohammed Sani Omolori before an Abuja High Court over the new Standing Orders of the Lower House.
It could be recalled that the House had on Tuesday, October 8, 2015 adopted the report of its then ad-hoc committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the House Standing Orders, 2011 edition, in which the Speaker is vested with the sweeping powers to suspend any member that approaches the Mace, which is the symbol of authority in the House, with whatever intent.
The disputed new Standing Orders also provide that the Speaker can suspend a member for 30 plenary days for failing to obey the presiding officer’s directive to a lawmaker to assume his seat during plenary.
In the originating summons filed before the court by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ahmed Bello Mahmud, dated December 14, 2015, the 11 lawmakers led by Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) sought 12 reliefs from the court, among which is a declaration that the new House Standing Orders is null and void as well as unconstitutional.
They also prayed the court to restrain Dogara, the House or any of its agents from exercising or enforcing “the purported amendments” vested on them in the new rules pending the determination of the suit.
They prayed the court to declare as “repressive, susceptible to abuse and breaches” of their constitutional rights, the powers granted Dogara to present any proposal for the suspension of any member in the newly adopted Standing Orders.