THE Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, ordered parties in the suit of the Kogi State House of Assembly to stay away from the assembly, pending the determination of an application challenging the judgment of the court restoring the Speaker and other principal members of the assembly.
The order, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said, was to enable the respondents file in their response to the application seeking to set aside the judgment, pending the determination of the appeal.
The judge had, in a judgment he delivered on June 19, reinstated the impeached speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Momoh Jimoh Lawal; the deputy speaker, Aliyu Akuh and seven other principal officers of the state House of Assembly, saying the process that led to their purported impeachment on February 16 was unconstitutional and illegal.
He said their removal was not in line with provisions of sections 90, 91, 92 (2) (c), 95 (1) & (2) and 96(1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The court voided the purported election of Umar Imam as the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, as well as the emergence of four others; Friday Sani; Lawal A.T. Ahmed; Bello Abdullahi and John Abah as principal officers of the House.
The court held that “the continued sitting and conduct of the affairs of the Kogi State House of Assembly by the first to fifth defendants after the purported removal of the first plaintiff and other principal officers of the House and purported installation of themselves as principal officers of the Kogi State House of Assembly on the 16th day of February, 2016, is illegal having regard to section 96 (1) of the Constitution and Rule 5(1).”
It also restrained the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who were seventh to eighth defendants in the suit, “from further barricading the assembly complex and preventing the plaintiffs from accessing the hallowed chambers of the Kogi State House of Assembly to conduct their legal and legitimate duties as legislators validly elected to represent their various constituencies.”
However, the defendants, not satisfied with the judgment, took the matter to the Appeal Court and filed an application before Justice Dimgba, asking the court to set aside the judgment pending the determination of the appeal.
When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, counsel for the first to 10th plaintiffs/respondents, Emeka Etiaba told the court that they were served a further affidavit out of time and insisted that they should be given time to respond, adding there were certain allegations in the affidavit that they have to disproof.
Etiaba, while asking for the adjournment, also requested the court to grant an order restraining parties from going back to the assembly to sit.
Responding, Justice Dimgba, in a brief ruling, ordered parties in the suit to stay away from the Kogi House of Assembly, pending the hearing of the application or judgment of the Appeal Court.
He also advised parties not to do anything that would undermine the judgment of the court or peace of the state, adding that the parties as representatives of the people, must set good examples to those they represent.
The matter was then adjourned till June 28.