NYSC Certificate Saga: Court Asked To Sack Ms. Hannatu Musawa, Order Refund Of Salaries

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja have been asked to Sack the newly appointed Minister of Arts and culture, Ms. Hannatu Musawa.

 



In a suit brought against the embattled Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy by Incorporated Trustees of African Leadership & Transparency Development Initiative. The group wants the Court to sack the Minister and order her to refund all the salaries she has so far received. The Originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1230/2023 and filed on 7th September, 2023, wants the court to decide among other things;

Whether upon an intimate reading and comprehensive understanding of Sections 1 (1& 2), 66 (1) (f), 147(5) and 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the 1st Defendant is qualified to be sworn in and employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at a time when she was a serving member of the National Youth Service Corp?


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Against the answer that may be proffered to the formulated question of law, the Plaintiff prays the Court for:

  1. A DECLARARTION of this Honourable Court that upon an intimate reading and comprehensive understanding of Sections 1 (1& 2), 66 (1) (f), 147(5) and 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the 1st Defendant is not qualified to be employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at a time when she was a serving member of the National Youth Service Corp.
  2. A DECLARATIONof this Honourable Court that, upon an intimate reading and comprehensive understanding of Sections 1 (1& 2), 66 (1) (f), 147(5) and 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the 2nd Defendant herein, is without constitutional vires to employ the 1st Defendant, who is a serving member of the National Youth Service Corp, as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  3. A DECLARATIONof this Honourable Court that, the employment of the 1st Defendant as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as represented by the 2nd Defendant herein, is unconstitutional, null and void and of no legal effect whatsoever regard being had to the combined provisions of Sections 1 (1& 2), 66 (1) (f), 147(5) and 315(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  4. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court setting aside the employment of the 1stDefendant as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as represented by the 2nd Defendant herein, same being a nullity.
  5. AN ORDERof this Honourable Court declaring vacant the seat and office of the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy in as much as it is being occupied by the 1st Defendant herein, HANNATU MUSAWA.
  6. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court restraining the 1stDefendant, HANNATU MUSAWA, FORTHWITH from parading herself, acting, holding out herself as the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy or exercising the powers and functions of the office of a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or drawing salaries, emoluments and perks attached to the said office.
  7. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing the 1stDefendant to, FORTHWITH, refund all the illegal salaries, emoluments and benefits she has so far received since the date she assumed office as the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy until the date of delivery of judgment.
  8. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court mandating the 2ndDefendant [the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation] to ensure total compliance, FORTHWITH, by all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria who shall FORTHWITH cease recognizing the 1st Defendant as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or according her any privilege due to the occupant of such office.

In the grounds supporting the Originating Summons, the Plaintiff avers that;

  1. Section 147(5) of the amended 1999 constitutionprovides to the effect that no person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.
  2. Section 66 (1) (f) of the amended 1999 constitutionprovides to the effect that no person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if: he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment 30 days before the date of election;
  3. Section 1 (1) & (2) of the amended 1999 constitutionprovides to the effect that Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
  4. In MODIBBO v. USMAN & ORS (2019) LPELR-59096(SC); (2020) 3 NWLR (pt. 1712) 470, the Supreme Court of Nigeria interpreted Section 66 (1) (f) of the amended 1999 constitutionto mean that a serving member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) is a public officer and disqualified from contesting to fill a sit in the National Assembly as a Member of Federal House of Representatives.
  5. The 1stDefendant who is a public officer, by virtue of being a current Member of the National Youth Service Corp, was sworn in to office as a  minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday the 21st day of August, 2023.
  6. The swearing in of the 1stDefendant as a Minister despite being a public officer as contemplated by Section 66 (1) (f) of the amended 1999 constitution by virtue of being a serving member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) gravely breaches Section 66 (1) (f); 147(5) and 1 (1&2) of the amended 1999 constitution hence necessitating the intervention of this Court.

Meanwhile, no date has been assigned for the hearing of the matter.




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