820 Bus Purchase: Court strikes out Ambode suit against Lagos Assembly
A STATE High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos state capital has struck out a suit filed by the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode against the Lagos State House of Assembly, Assembly Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa and others over probe on purchase of 820 buses during his administration.
The Lagos State Assembly set up an Ad-committee to look investigate the purchase of 820 buses by the former governor with claims that it was bought outside budgetary approval.
Ambode approached the court sometime in October 2019 to stop the Assembly from investigating the purchase claiming that the Assembly was ‘deliberately misrepresenting’ facts.
Upon his suit, the court ordered that status quo be maintained pending judgment on the claimant’s suit.
However, during the ruling on the case on Thursday, the sitting judge on the case, Justice Yetunde Adesanmi struck out Ambode’s suit on basis that it breaches the doctrine of separation of power.
The judge ruled that Ambode’s suit is an attempt to override the power conferred on the Assembly by Section 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I hereby find that the claimant’s action is an invitation to the court to cripple the legislative exercise of the statutory power of the Lagos State House of Assembly under Section 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution, that is not the function of the court, and no court of law should accede such invitation, the claimant’s suit is hereby struck out” the judge ruled.
Adesanmi added that the Ad-Hoc Committee was set up to investigate the purchase of the buses which is not an indictment on the claimant (Ambode).
According to the judge, the ad-hoc committee’s duty is to investigate and it is not an indictment or breach of Ambode’s fundamental human right.
“It is not set up to determine the civil rights and obligations of the claimant, in the same breath, an investigation is not an indictment, it precedes an indictment, the claimant, in this instance, has not been indicted by the House of Assembly neither has the committee indicted the claimant by a mere invitation by summons to appear before it,” she said.
The judge held that an invitation by the committee did not constitute a breach of the former governor’s fundamental right to fair hearing as contained in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.