Group Decries Senate President’s Failure To Swear-in Jarigbe

Group Decries Senate President’s Failure To Swear-in Jarigbe
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Threatens to drag Ahmed to court for contempt

Cyril Ogar

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Human Right Lawyer Barr. Alex Edim and a political youth group Cross River North youth Vanguard has asked Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to respect court order directing him to swear-in senator-elect, Rt Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe in the interest of rule of law.

The group threatened to drag Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to court for allegedly refusing to inaugurate Jarigbe despite a court order for him to do so.

The Human right lawyer who spoke in Abuja at a press briefing described as an unacceptable alleged refusal of Lawan to swear-in Jarigbe even with a duly issued certificate of return for Cross River North East Senatorial District.

Coordinator told reporters that Lawan was trampling on rule of law for allegedly refusing to swear-in Jarigbe.

He recalled that the apex court, on February 25, ordered that he should be issued a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and be sworn in as the senator representing Cross River North District.

This was contained in a copy of a judgment obtained by AljazirahNigeria.

In the split decision, the apex court dismissed the appeal filed by Stephen Odey challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which earlier declared Mr Jarigbe as the valid candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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PDP had won the December 5, 2020, bye-election held to replace Rose Okoh, who died last year.

Two conflicting judgments from courts in the Federal Capital Territory and Cross River State judiciary initially upheld Messer’s Jarigbe and Odey respectively as the winner of the bye election.

Lawan

However, an Abuja division of the Court of Appeal declared Jarigbe as the duly nominated candidate of the PDP and the rightful winner of the election against Mr Odey, who was earlier declared by INEC and sworn in by the Senate.

The court also ordered the INEC to immediately issue a certificate of return to Mr Jarigbe and withdraw the one earlier issued to Mr Odey.

Although the electoral body has complied with the Supreme Court judgment by issuing Mr Jarigbe a certificate of return, the senate president has refused to allow Mr Jarigbe to take his oath as a senator-elect.

Earlier Jarigbe had before now expressed confidence in Lawan to comply with the judgment of the apex court and inaugurate him.

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The group maintained that Mr Odey, has been occupying the seat illegally, and urged the Senate President to stop him from attending plenary, stressing he was no more a member of the National Assembly.

Alex noted that INEC in obedience to the court order issued Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe with a fresh certificate of return.

He said that the Senate President has however delayed the swearing-in of Senator-elect Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe without any justifiable reason or excuse under the law.

According to him, “It has come to our knowledge that series of letters have been written and advice given to the Senate President to swear-in senator-elect Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe but the Senate President has refused to do the needful.

“It is worthy to mention that all relevant documents have been put before the Senate President, Includes Certificate of return from INEC.”

Alex noted that it is obvious that precedent has been set in the swearing-in of senators who have won pre-election matters and issued with a certificate of return.

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He said, “Just to mention but a few is the case of Kogi East in a case between Senator Isaac Alfa vs Senator Atai Aidoko. In this situation, stay of execution was pending in court and appeals were also pending in both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. We believe that their swearing-in was right because appeal does not in law operate as the order for stay of execution.”

He insisted that in view of the precedent already set by the Senate similar to the instant case of Jarigbe, Senate ought to be consistent and swear-in Senator-elect Jarigbe immediately.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the Senate, Ajibola Bashiru, said he was not aware of Jarigbe’s plight.

“It must be an administrative issue,” he said, directing our correspondent to the Senate President. All efforts to get the reaction of Mr Lawan did not yield any positive result as of press time.

Aljazirahnews


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