By Aderogba George
An FCT High Court, Jabi, on Monday deferred its judgment on suit of enforcement of rights filed by the Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Ibrahim Idris against the Senate.
Justice Abba-Bello Muhammad deferred its decision following an application by the respondent Counsel, Mr Abdul Mohammed against the proceeding.
Mohammed in the application argued that the applicant had failed to serve the respondents with the originating summons and other relevant processes in the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the respondents are the Senate, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Senators Isah Misau, Francis Alimikhena, Binta Garba and Suleiman Hunkuyi.
The rest are senators Duro Samuel, Ogba Obinna, Nelson Effiong, Abdulaziz Nyako.
The 4th to the 10th respondents were members of the ad-hoc committee that sat on the complaint of financial misappropriation in the police made by the third respondent -Misau.
Giving ruling, the judge held that the submission made by the respondents’ counsel was appropriate.
“The essence of service is to bring a person on notice to a matter pending in court, but where a party has been able to show that service has not been made, the court is left with no option than to ensure service is made.
“The pending judgment is hereby deferred to enable the court hear all parties listed in the matter in the interest of justice,’’ the judge said.
Muhammad therefore adjourned the matter until Feb. 1 for the continuation of the case.
The I-G had approached the court seeking a declaration that the investigative activities of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee breached his rights as the Head of the Police Force.
He is also seeking for a declaration that his invitation to appear before the ad-hoc committee based on Misau’s petition was also a violation of his rights and disregard to justice.
NAN reports that the court had on Dec. 4, 2017 fixed Jan. 22 to deliver judgment on Idris’suit.
The court had on Nov. 16, 2017 ruled that service of the originating summon and other papers on the respondents could be done by substituted means.
Mohammed had earlier told the court that without proper service on the respondents, the court would have lost the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
He said the argument by Counsel to the I-G, Mr Alex Izinyon (SAN) that the court should not entertain the application to halt the judgment was ill-motivated.
“Our application is competent to the adjudication of the court, without proper service in a suit, the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain suit.
“Cases abound where this kind of situation has shown forth, so it is not an abuse of the law as canvassed by Izinyon.
“Once the issue of service is raised, an affidavit must be filed countering the service of the suit before a ruling can be made,’’ Mohammed said.
Mohammed said there was no proof to show that the applicant served the respondents the originating summons through substituted means or by baliff.
Izinyon, however, argued that the application brought by the respondents’ counsel was simply an attempt to foil the judgment fixed for the day.
Izinyon, therefore, urged the court to refuse the application and go ahead to deliver judgment.