Akwa Ibom speaker unstoppable from declaring members’ seat vacant
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday struck out two suits seeking to prevent the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, from declaring vacant, two seats belonging to lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court was presided by Justice F. O. G Ogunbanjo.
The court decision followed the withdrawal of the suits by the plaintiffs.
The two lawmakers – Gabriel Toby and Nse Ntuen, representing Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency and Essien Udim State Constituency respectively – had joined Godswill Akpabio, a senator and former governor of the state, to defect from the PDP to APC in August.
They hurriedly filed the suit on August 14 asking the court to restrain the speaker from declaring their seats in assembly vacant following their defection.
Apart from the speaker of the assembly, other defendants in the suits were the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Inspector general of police.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Uyo-Obong Jumbo of Juris Advocates, Uyo, told newsmen, Friday morning, that they withdrew the suits in the federal high court, Abuja, to enable them re-file it in Uyo for convenience.
Mr Jumbo said the cases were filed in the Abuja court because the courts in Akwa Ibom were on vacation as at the time.
“Now that the courts in Akwa Ibom are no longer on vacation, it is very convenient for us that we file the case back here in Uyo,” he said.
Ekemini Udim of Justice Chambers, Uyo, represented the Akwa Ibom speaker, Luke, in the cases.