N10b jet expenses probe: Diezani, NNPC stall hearing
Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, her ministry and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stalled hearing yesterday in the suit they filed against their investigation by the House of Representatives on allegation that she spent N10 billion on hired aircraft.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on June 19, adjourned till yesterday for hearing of the substantive suit, after ordering parties to maintain the status quo.
But the hearing was stalled yesterday because of an application by the plaintiffs seeking to amend their originating summons.
They sought to add two additional prayers, including a declaration that the National Assembly and the House of Representatives (defendants) could not investigate against them
Although the National Assembly, represented by Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), did not object to the amendment sought by the plaintiffs, the House of Representatives, represented by Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), opposed the plaintiffs’ move to amend their originating process.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer, Etigwe Uwa (SAN), was not comfortable with the House’s objection to his plan to the amendment. He said the objection was against the parties’ earlier agreement to proceed with the substantive suit.
The lawyer prayed the court to give him some time to respond to the objection filed by the House against his application to amend.
Mahmud argued that, as against Uwa’s position, it was the plaintiffs who had acted against the parties’ agreement to proceed with the substantive suit by coming with an amendment midway into the case.
The lawyer averred that the amendment sought by the plaintiffs was an attempt to broaden the scope of the suit beyond what existed. He argued that the amendment was unnecessary.
Justice Mohammed held that there was nothing unusual in the objection raised by the House of Representatives against the plaintiffs’ plane to amend.
The judge was of the view that since the plaintiffs chose to amend their originating process, the House was entitled to either object or support such decision.
He adjourned till July 9 to hear the plaintiffs’ application to amend their originating summons.
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