The Federal High Court in Abuja on on Thursday voided the 180-legislative-day suspension imposed by the House of Representatives on a former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on September 28, 2016.
Delivering judgment in the suit filed by Jibrin to challenge the sanction imposed on him, Justice John Tsoho, declared the suspension of the legislator as unconstitutional and ordered the lower legislative chamber to pay him all the salary due to him for the period he was unjustly suspended.
“The suspension was an interruption of his earning which will be automatically restored especially when it has been decided that the action was a nullity by virtue of granting prayers 1 and 3 of the originating summons.
“When an action is declared nullity it is deemed that it never happened.”
Although Jibrin had since resumed his legislative duties, he was unrelenting in prosecuting his fundamental human rights enforcement suit challenging his suspension.
His suspension was a fallout of his campaign which began in July 2016 demanding the removal of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers of the House over allegation that they padded the 2016 budget with about N40bn.
He had reported the alleged corrupt act to the various law enforcement agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the police.
The House of Representatives considered this “a campaign of calumny against the House and its leaders” for which he was suspended for 180 legislative days.
But ruling on Thursday, Justice Tsoho agreed with Jibrin’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), in holding that the lawmaker’s act act was a lawful one, and suspending him because of it was an attempt to gag him.
“There is no better conclusion that the plaintiff was carrying out the mandate imposed on members by Chapter 7 (7.5) of the Code of Conduct for Honourable Members adopted on November 4, 2004,” the judge ruled.