20th November, 2015
Senate Committee on Ethics,
Privileges and Public Petitions,
National Assembly Complex,
IBRAHIM LAMORDE V. THE SENATE & 3 ORS.
(SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/934/15):
NEED TO MAINTAIN STATUS QUO PENDING
DETERMINATION OF SUIT.
We are solicitors to Ibrahim Lamorde (hereinafter referred to as ”˜our client’) and on whose instructions we write you this letter.
Recall that your Committee “invited” our client to appear before it on the 17th of November, 2015. Recall also that at the Committee’s proceedings of 17th November, 2015, we represented our client and sought to raise certain objections as to the powers and procedure employed by the Committee in “inviting” our client, but we were not permitted to do so because your Committee ruled that legal practitioners are not permitted to appear and represent those invited by Senate Committees ”“ even if it is to raise objections.
With the greatest respect to the esteemed members of the Committee, we totally, entirely and completely disagree with you. In as much as our client (and any Nigerian for that matter) is not above the law, the Senate and its Committees are also creations of the Constitution and must abide by the letters and the spirit of the Constitution.
You may wish to note that our Constitution incorporates and enshrines the universally acknowledged principles of fair hearing which stipulate, among others, that anyone so invited by any investigative Panel or Committee over criminal allegations of any sort can defend himself or by any legal practitioner of his choice.
We appeared on that day to make the point that our client had not even been summoned at all in the eyes of the law and cannot appear under such circumstance, but due to your constitutionally-strange procedures, you did not allow lawyers who appeared to even raise their objections to your “invitation”.
Consequently, we have instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Abuja challenging the power and procedure adopted by your esteemed Committee to “invite” our client. For ease of reference, we have attached processes filed in that regard.
Kindly note that the Courts are there to correctly define and interpret the extent of the powers of the Senate. The Courts may constrict or expand those powers. It was in this light, you may recall that I also went to Court not long ago to ask it to pronounce on the powers of the Senate in respect of confirmation of the appointment of Service Chiefs. Today, you are enjoying the exercise of that power.
As a revered Committee of the Senate which prides itself on its obedience to the Rule of Law, we expect that pursuant to the Senate Standing Rules, your Committee will suspend all investigations and enquiries involving our client, including the Committee’s proceedings fixed for 24th November, 2015, pending the determination of the suit.
Please be assured of the highest regard we have for the leadership of the 8th Senate and the Chairman and Members of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
Yours most trusted,
FESTUS KEYAMO, ESQ.
Head of Chambers