3rd June, 2014
The federal government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN, has asked a federal high court siting in Abuja to compel the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, to declare the seats of the 41 members of the House who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressive Congress (APC) vacant.
Adoke filed the suit following a judgment delivered by Justice Adeniyi Ademola also of a Federal High Court wherein the judge stated that lawmakers who defected to APC should not be allowed to participate in the proceedings of the House.
Based on that the judgment, the justice minister approached the court seeking for an order of injunction restraining the House of Representatives from allowing the affected 41 members to participate in all House activities.
The minister’s lawyer, Ade Okeaya-Ineh, applied to the court to direct the parties to file their written address. The Speaker and the House of Reps lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, himself also a senior advocate, did not object to the request to file written addresses.
The trial judge, Justice A. R Mohammed, consequently directed the parties to file their written addresses and adjourned the case to 8 July, for hearing.
Bello contended that the House was not properly constituted or composed as envisaged by section 49 of the Constitution to lawfully exercise its general legislative powers and functions under the constitution as distinct from proceedings.
He urged the court to declare that the House of Reps and the Speakers of the House, could not lawfully count the votes or presence of the persons affected by the said decision of the Federal High Court, for purposes of determining if a bill was carried or not, and for purposes of quorum of the House or its committees under section 62(2) of the constitution respectively.
He wants the court to declare that the Speaker should not continue to accord to the persons affected by the said decision of the Federal High Court, the rights and the privileges of the members of the House of Representatives.
Only the House of Reps and the speaker were listed as the defendants in the suit.
In March, Justice Adeniyi Ademola granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining 41 former PDP members of the House of Representatives, who decamped to the APC from either initiating or participating in effort to alter the leadership of the House.
PDP had instituted the suit to frustrate moves by the defecting lawmakers to initiate changes in the leadership of the House.