President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly have finally settled their dispute over the ongoing constitution amendment process.
This followed a directive by a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday, asking lawyers to both parties to broker a settlement talk between their clients.
The court had then adjourned till Wednesday for report of settlement.
Counsel for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), who instituted the suit on behalf of the President, and Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who represented the National Assembly, told the apex court panel that both parties made concessions before arriving at a settlement.
The apex court adjourned till 4pm on Wednesday to enable the plaintiff to file notice of discontinuance of the suit.
Lawyers to the parties declined to give details of the concessions reached until the terms of settlement and notice of discontinuance are filed.
President Jonathan had refused to assent to the 4th Alteration Bill on the grounds of the alleged failure of the National Assembly to fulfill the mandatory requirement for the passage of the bill.
The AGF on behalf of the President had then filed the suit to challenge the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly following threat by the legislators to override the President’s assent.
The plaintiff is opposed to, among other provisions in the proposed amendment of the constitution which conferred on the National Assembly, the power to pass an amendment of the constitution without the president’s consent.
The plaintiff, in his originating summons, wants the court to nullify and set aside Sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015 purportedly passed by the defendant.
The plaintiff also asked the court to determine two questions, “Whether the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) by the Defendant through sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ((Fourth Alteration) Act 2015 (hereinafter referred to as The Fourth Alteration Act 2015) which purportedly altered sections 8, 9, 34, 35, 39, 42, 45, 58, 84, 150, 174 and 211 of the Constitution without compliance with the requirements of section 9(3) of the Constitution is not unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void?
The plaintiff further prayed the court to hold, among others, that the proposed amendments to the Constitution through sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015 which purportedly altered sections 8, 9, 34, 35, 39, 42, 45, 58, 84, 150, 174 and 211 of the Constitution and passed by the defendant without complying with the mandatory requirement of section 9(3) and (4) of the said Constitution stipulating passage by at least four-fifths majority of all members of each House specified in sections 48 and 49 of the Constitution is unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
Source: The Punch