Supreme Court affirms Hembe’s sacking, directs him to return earnings

The Supreme Court on Wednesday re - affirmed its order sacking Herman Hembe as the member of the House of Representatives representing Vandikya / Konshisha constituency of Benue State .
A panel of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, dismissed an application by Hembe praying for the reversal of the order directing him to return all his earnings during his about two years illegal stay in the House .
The court also awarded N 1 m cost against the sacked legislator in favour of Mrs. Dorothy Mato , who was cleared to be sworn in immediately to replace Hembe .
The Supreme Court had on June 25 sacked Hembe and ordered that Mato be sworn in his stead.
The court , which ordered Hembe to return his earnings from the House of Representatives , held that the Mato was the rightful candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election .
But Hembe filed a motion on notice asking the Supreme Court to reverse itself .
Hembe ’ s lawyer , Mr . Paul Erokoro (SAN ), while introducing the motion before the apex court on Wednesday, said the motion was asking the court to correct some errors and accidental slip contained in the judgment of the court .
Mato ’ s counsel , Emeka Etiaba (SAN ), opposed the motion , saying it was an abuse of court process .
The apex court , in response , questioned Erokoro on the propriety of his motion in view of Order 8 Rule 16 of the Supreme Court rules .
Erokoro insisted that his motion was for an order of the court to correct and amend an error in the judgment of the court in order to reflect the true intention of the said judgment .
He specifically noted that instead of invoking Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to hear the appeal , it should have sent it back to the tribunal for re - trial .
But the CJN , with four other Justices of the apex court , said the court could not reverse itself as it had no jurisdiction to sit on appeal over its judgment.
The CJN reminded Erokoro that the case was a pre -election matter with definite timeframe .
Justice Onnoghen said , “We invoked the powers of this court under Section 22 of the Act, heard the matter and gave judgment .
“ So are you now asking us to review our judgment ? Whether or not we are wrong , our decision is final , we cannot review our judgment .
“ The Supreme Court is a final court for a reason that there has to be an end to litigation . ”
The Supreme Court also refused the application by Hembe asking it to vacate the consequential order directing him to return his salaries and allowances.
On this , the CJN said, “Learned SAN , it appears you close your mind on the circumstances of this case that translated into the judgment of this court .
“ This is a policy - making court , where we make policies to guide society to move forward . When we use judicial process to perpetuate injustice, this court comes in to maintain decorum.
“ There is no error , there is no accidental slip in our judgment , you can go on appeal to another court , if there is any, but on our own part , we cannot review our judgment whether wrongly made or not , that is the order of this court . ”
The judgment further read , “ If somebody has been in the House where he is not supposed to be and has reaped the benefits which should not be , you mean we should close our eyes to this product of impunity ?”