The Supreme Court on Monday urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to resolve issues bordering on the fourth Constitution alteration amendments bill out of court and report their term of settlement to it on Wednesday.
The court struck out a motion filed by Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, seeking to substitute the AGF with the President as the plaintiff.
All the seven justices on the panel found the motion defective and incurable.
The apex court noted that even if the AGF’s originating summons is amended, it will not cure the affidavit in support of it.
The apex court pointedly declared that it has no power to amend an affidavit.
It pointed out that the state governments which ought to be parties to the suit were still left out.
However, in his response, Ojo said the plaintiff was concerned with the National Assembly, which had failed to fulfill the requirement of section 9 (3) of the constitution, particularly the required 4/5 membership of the National Assembly in passing the amendment.
Still not convinced about the competence of the originating summons, the apex court observed that the plaintiff could have come by writ of summons.
At this point, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, ruled: “The court cannot amend the originating summons half way.
“We have no power to amend the affidavit.
“This matter requires oral evidence.”
Consequently, Mohammed suggested that the parties should reconcile their differences in the interest of the country.
Based on stand of the Court, counsel to the National Assembly, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), whose application necessitated Monday’s sitting, stated that the order of status quo earlier granted could not stand on nothing in view of the defective nature of the originating Summons.
Awomolo asked that it should be vacated.
But the court refused to vacate the order.
Rather it insisted that Awomolo should write an undertaking that the National Assembly would not override the President’s veto.
In his response, Awomolo said he can only convey the massage of the court to his client.
He however informed the court that settlement out of court was possible if the plaintiff is willing.