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Published On: Mon, Mar 31st, 2014

Court Orders 37 Defecting Reps Members to Vacate Seats

LAGOS MARCH 31ST (URHOBOTODAY)-An Abuja High Court has ordered the 37 members of the Federal House of Representatives who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to honourably relinquish their seats.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola passed the judgment on Monday, pronouncing that the defector House of Representative members do not legally and morally belong in the House anymore, since they have dumped their original political platforms before the expiration of their tenures.

After considering all the arguments, the judge noted that the defectors are incompetent to vote or contribute to any proceedings in the House of Representatives.
“Having perused the arguments of counsel and the constitutional provisions, it is clear and unambiguous that the defendants were sponsored by the PDP and won the election on its platform,” he said. “It is also the court’s opinion that their tenure has not expired and there is no division in the PDP.”
Consequently, the judge said the defectors must not tamper with the leadership of the House.
“An order of perpetual injunction is, hereby, ordered, restraining them from altering or attempting to change the leadership of the House of Reps”, Ademola added.
The suit seeking to restrain the House of Representatives from altering the composition of its leadership was instituted by PDP in January in response to the defection of the 37 lawmakers to the opposition party.
PDP’s counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), argued at the time that by virtue of Justice Evoh Chukwu’s October 2013 judgement indicating that there was no division in PDP, the matter had been laid to rest.
Though Mamoud Magaji (SAN), counsel to the defendants, argued that it was wrong for the PDP to attempt restraining its former members from House activities for defecting, Usman countered that Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution, as amended, provides that the lawmakers ought to have vacated their seats immediately after defecting.

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