Police barricade C’ River Assembly gate
Judgement will be delivered on Friday at a Federal High Court, Abuja, in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Benedict Ayade of Cross River.
The PDP, through its counsel Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 before Justice Taiwo Taiwo to seek an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among others.
The case will come up at Court 7 of the court presided by Justice Taiwo.
On Monday, Justice Taiwo had ordered two House of Representatives members representing Cross River and 18 lawmakers from the state’s House of Assembly to vacate their seats over their defection to APC.
The judge gave the order following a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/971/2021 filed on Aug. 27, 2021, by the PDP to challenge the 20 lawmakers’ defection to APC, alongside the governor on May 20, 2021.
Justice Taiwo, in the judgement, dismissed the defence argument that the PDP (plaintiff) had no locus standi (legal rights) to institute the case.
He also dismissed other preliminary objections raised by the sacked lawmakers.
Taiwo ruled that the argument of the lawmakers that there was rancour in the PDP which necessitated their defection to APC was a ploy to mislead the court.
The judge, who granted all the reliefs sought by the PDP, held that it was disheartening that politicians in the country treat citizens as if they do not matter once they get into office.
“A day must surely come when elected officials, must either resign from their office or ask the people who voted for them before defecting to other political parties, instead of defecting to another party without recourse to the law and the citizens, ” he said.
According to him, we cannot continue in sin and expect grace to abound.
The affected two members of the House of Representatives from the state are Michael Etaba and Legor Idagbor.
The 18 state’s lawmakers include the Speaker, House of Assembly, Eteng Williams; Mich Etaba, Legor Idagbor, Joseph Bassey, Odey Agbe and Okon Ephraim.
Others are Regina Anyogo, Matthew Olory, Ekpo Bassey, Ogbor Udop, Ekpe Okon, Hillary Bisong, Francis Asuquo, Elvert Ayambem, Davis Etta, Sunday Achunekan, Cynthia Nkasi, Edward Ajang, Chris Ogar and Maria Akwaji.
While Mr Etaba represents Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency of Cross River, Mr Idagbor represents Obudu/Obaliku/Bekwarra Federal Constituency of the state.
Meanwhile, the Police on Tuesday barricaded the entrance of the Cross River House of Assembly Complex in Calabar, following Monday’s court judgement that sacked 20 lawmakers in the state.
Workers of the assembly and others who had businesses to transact at the complex were prevented from gaining access into the premises opposite the U.J. Esuene Stadium.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Irene Ugbo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the proactive action was to mitigate any possible breach, following the Federal High Court judgement in Abuja.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had on Monday sacked 20 lawmakers from the state, including two members of the Federal House of Representatives, who defected from PDP to APC.
Taiwo’s judgement followed a suit filed by the PDP which sought the removal of the national and state legislators who defected from PDP to APC.