Ndume resumes today as legal battle continues

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Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously resolved to allow Senator Ali Ndume (Borno-South) to resume on Wednesday (today) from his six-month suspension by the chamber.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary on Tuesday, made the announcement after an executive (closed-door) session held by the lawmakers.

Ekweremadu said the lawmakers resolved at the closed-door session that the former Majority Leader be allowed to resume “without prejudice to the case pending in court.”

The Senate had on Monday appealed against a Federal High Court judgment on Friday, which nullified the suspension of the Borno-South senator.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly, which stated through its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in a statement on Sunday, disclosed that it would also apply for stay of execution at the Court of Appeal.

The Senate had on March 29, 2017, suspended Ndume for six months for not “conducting due diligence” before filing a petition against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye.

The FHC, however, voided the suspension in the judgment delivered on the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/551/2017, which Ndume filed to challenge his suspension for 90 legislative days.

Ndume had on Friday said he would not be surprised but disappointed if the Senate appealed against the judgment.

Ndume was suspended “for bringing Senator Dino Melaye, his colleague, and the institution of the Senate to unbearable disrepute.”

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions made the recommendation in its report, which was adopted by the lawmakers.

The panel had recommended that the lawmaker be suspended for one year but some senators pleaded that the punishment be reduced to six months, which was unanimously approved.

Ndume had on March 21, 2017, urged the Senate to investigate the allegation that an armoured Range Rover car reportedly worth N298m, but which the chamber later said cost $298,000, seized by Nigeria Customs Service and belonged to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

The lawmaker also called on the upper chamber of the National Assembly to investigate the certificate scandal involving Melaye.

He recalled that previous certificate scandals involving members of the National Assembly were probed by the lawmakers.

An online news portal, Sahara Reporters, which made the allegation in a report published on March 18, 2017, said the seizure of the Sports Utility Vehicle, allegedly belonging to Saraki, was the reason why the Senate was moving against the Controller General of the NCS, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.).

The medium reported that the car was intercepted and impounded on January 11, 2017, by the service for allegedly having fake documents.

Sahara Reporters had also in another report alleged that Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, but was parading a fake certificate.

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