Saturday, 22 August 2015

Court stops Senate from summoning Nation’s editor, reporter

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, restrained the National Assembly from compelling The Nation’s Editor, Gbenga Omotoso and a correspondent of the newspaper house, Imam Bello to appear before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions over a story published by the medium.

Trial judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa granted the order following an ex-parte application moved by the applicants’ counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu.

Applicants in the suit are Vintage Press Limited (publisher of The Nation), Omotoso and Bello, the while the National Assembly and the Senate are the respondents.

The Senate had, in an August 4 letter, invited Omotoso and Bello to appear before it over the story: Motion: 22 APC Northern senators ‘working against Buhari.’

The Senate wrote another letter on August 11, threatening to invoke Section 89 (1) (D) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to compel the applicants’ appearance.

Justice Yunusa restrained the respondents, whether by themselves, their members, committees or agents from summoning or directing the appearance of the applicants or any of their agents before any Senate Committee.

The court barred the lawmakers from requesting the applicants to produce any papers, notes or other documents in respect of the story.

The judge also restrained the respondents from issuing a warrant to compel the applicants’ attendance before the Senate Committee set up to investigate the publication.

The order, according to the court is to remain in force pending the hearing and determination of the applicants’ motion on notice.

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