<<< By Tahav Agerzua >>>
Counsel representing the Benue State Government, Mr Sebastian Hon, has urged Makurdi High court to dismiss former Governor Gabriel Suswam’s motion praying the Court to stop panels probing his administration.
Mr. Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, submitted that Justice Adam Onum should dismiss the application because it lacked merit.
He submitted that section 128 and 129 of the Nigerian Constitution have vested the power of setting up commissions of inquiry in the Governor of a State and not the House of Assembly.
The counsel submitted that the Makurdi High court also lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by Dr. Suswam against the State Government pointing out that by section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution, no civil proceedings can be instituted against the State without the consent of the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
He explained that having failed to fulfill the necessary conditions, the plaintiff has robbed the court of the jurisdiction to entertain the matter adding that once a court lacks jurisdiction, it does not have capacity to look into the merit of the matter.
Addressing the Court on the appointment of a High court Judge to serve as chairman of the judicial commission of inquiry, Mr. Hon submitted that even Supreme Court Judges can be appointed to similar positions and cited several Supreme Court authorities to buttress his submissions.
While moving the motion when the case came up for hearing, counsel to former Governor Suswam Mr. J. B. Dauda appearing with Mr Taiwo Taiwo, both of them Senior Advocates of Nigeria, argued that by law Samuel Governor Ortom has no power to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an administrative commission because such power was only vested in the State House of Assembly.
They argued that the Commission of Inquiry law was based on the 1963 Constitution enacted by the colonial masters adding that with its amendment such a law has became obsolete on account of its introduction of separation of powers.
The counsels urged the Court to grant their client’s prayers and declare the setting up of the commission to probe the administration of Dr. Suswam as null and void.
Mr Justice Onum fixed November 9th for ruling on the motion.