Tuesday, May 23, 2017 7:57 am
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has slammed the Senate as led by Bukola Saraki for refusing to honour a court order over a senator-elect.
The group, in a statatement signed by Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President, subsequently gave the Senate two weeks to obey the order or face the wrath of Nigerians.
A Federal High Court had ordered that Bassey Etim be sworn in as the representative of Akwa Ibom North-East, but many months later, the group said the order is yet to be obeyed.
“We are appalled by the glaring reluctance of Senate President Bukola Saraki to respect a Federal High Court order,” the AYCF said through Yerima Shettima, its national president.
AYCF said it was unacceptable for the upper chamber of the National Assembly as an institution of public service and symbol of the rule of law, to employ delay tactics over the order of a competent court of jurisdiction.
“We have reason to suspect that by refusing to swear-in Senator-elect Bassey Etim for an unfathomable number of months is a ploy to thwart the court order and tamper with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“We are cautioning the Senate leadership to avoid playing to the gallery by doing what is legally and constitutionally appropriate, which is the immediate swearing-in of the bona-fide owner of the Akwa-Ibom Northeast seat at the Senate.
“The next appropriate step is to direct Albert Akpan, the man removed by the competent court, and to ensure he returns all the salaries and associated benefits he got so far as ruled.
“We find the prolonged drama created around the swearing-in by the Senate leadership as a smear on decorum, contemptuous, a breach of the nation’s constituion and a ridicule of the highest law-making arm of the Nigerian government,” the group said.
Shettima noted that while the Senate continues to play hide-and-seek over the issue, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) had since complied with the court ruling by issuing fresh certificate of return to Mr Etim Bassey.
“There is no justification whatsoever for Senator Bukola Saraki to delay action in doing the needful. We therefore task the upper chamber to be alive to its responsibility by respecting the verdict of a competent court of jurisdiction. No amount of delay or artificial tinkering would subvert the course of justice.
“It is our fervent hope that this would be the last time the Senate will ridicule our courts of law and our constitution for political convenience. In this era of change, the Senate and indeed its leadership should set a good example for a democratic system in which the judicial arm plays pivotal role in governance.
“Consequently, we are hereby giving the Senate Two Weeks ultimatum to swear-in Mr. Etim Bassey as Senator representing Akwa-Ibom Northeast senatorial zone with immediate effect. If the Senate fails to do the needful, based on our ultimatum, we will not hesitate to mobilize Nigerians to occupy the National Assembly and jointly reject this impunity,” the AYCF warned.