Court restrains Clerk, AG from removing NAMs from Ecowas Parliament

Court restrains Clerk, AG from removing NAMs from Ecowas Parliament

Justice Jallow-Sey of the high court yesterday made a ruling restraining the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Attorney General from removing Fatoumata ‘Touma’ Njai of Banjul South, Samba Jallow of Niamina West, and Kebba Barrow of Kombo South from the Ecowas Parliament.

Last week, the three NAMs filed a lawsuit at the high court against the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Attorney General over their “illegal” removal from the Ecowas Parliament. The clerk is the first respondent, while the AG is the second.

The three aggrieved lawmakers asked the high court to declare that the attempts by the Clerk of the National Assembly to remove them from their elected membership in the Ecowas Parliament are discriminatory, unconstitutional, null, and void.

The Standard has been reliably informed that the members selected to replace Touma, Jallow and Barrow have travelled to Abuja Nigeria and are expected to be sworn in today.

Yesterday, the lawyer representing the applicants, Lamin J Darbo, filed a motion appealing for the court to issue an interim order restraining the clerk and the attorney general from removing the parliamnetarians from their elected membership in the Ecowas Parliament pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice to be filed by the applicants.

In moving his motion, Counsel Darbo submitted that the legal rights of the applicants that are being threatened are their membership in the Ecowas Parliament, the subject matter of the suit.

He posited that the respondents are taking steps to unlawfully interfere with the rights of the applicants as members of the National Assembly and Ecowas Parliament. Based on the conduct of the respondents, the applicants have filed an originating summons, claiming, among others, declarations and an injunction. He further submitted that it is within the jurisdiction of the court even without a formal application of either of the parties to preserve the subject matter on which litigation is founded.

“It is within the inherent jurisdiction of the court … to ensure, until the determination of the issue, that the subject matter of the suit remains intact,” Darbo argued.

Delivering a ruling on the motion for an interim order filed on 28 March, Justice Jallow-Sey said: “I have carefully considered the submission of the learned counsel and read the 16-paragraph affidavit in support of the same sworn to by the first applicant, Fatoumatta Njai, on March 27, 2024, and the documents exhibited thereto. On the whole, I am satisfied that the applicants’ action clearly denotes the existence of a legal right that must be protected. The applicants have also fulfilled the requirements to enable this court to exercise its discretion in granting this application.

“Consequently, this application succeeds, and an interim order is granted restraining the respondents, its servants, agents, or otherwise howsoever from its ongoing attempts to remove or from removing the applicants from their elected membership of the Ecowas Parliament pending the filing and hearing of the Motion on Notice. This ruling and related processes must be served on the respondents in this suit. I make no further orders.”

Reaction

Reacting to the ruling, the minority leader and member for Kantora, Bilay Tunkara, who is the head of the Gambian delegation at the Ecowas Parliament, wrote on his WhatsApp status yesterday: “No injunction can stop us. Let them try harder.”

Source: The Standard

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