A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday fixed July 8 for the hearing of the suit filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, seeking to compel the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, to declare the seats of the 41 members of the House who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) vacant.
Following the judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola also of a Federal High Court in Abuja that the lawmakers who defected to APC should not be allowed to participate in the proceedings of the House, the AGF approached the court for an order of injunction restraining the House from further allowing the affected 41 members from further participating in all the activities of the House.
When the matter came up yesterday for mention before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, counsel to the AGF, Ade Okeaya-Ineh (SAN) asked the court to direct the parties to file their written addresses.
Counsel to the House and the Speaker, Mahmoud Magaji (SAN), did not object to the request to file written addresses.
Justice Mohammed consequently directed the parties to file their written addresses and adjourned the case to July 8 for hearing.
In a suit, the federal government asked the court to declare that in the light of the combined effects of sections 68(1)(g), 68(2) and 49 of the constitution and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Oloyo V Alegbe (1983) SCNLR 35 as well as the decision of Justice Adeniyi Ademola in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/4/14, the House was not properly constituted and lawfully composed as envisaged by Section 49 of the Constitution.
It also asked the court to declare that the House, in view of the authorities cited above, was not properly constituted or composed as envisaged by section 49 of the Constitution to lawfully exercise its general legislative powers and functions under section of the constitution as distinct from proceedings.
It asked the court to declare that the House of Reps and the Speakers of the House, in view of the authorities cited above, 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.
Lastly, government also relying on the authorities cited above, asked 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 and the speaker were listed as the defendants in the Originating Summons filed on behalf of the AGF by Ade Okeaya-Inneh, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu and Solomom Umoh all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN).
Government also posed four questions for the determination of the court all of which bordered on whether the affected lawmakers could continue to sit in the House in view of the judgment by Justice Ademola.
In an 18-paragraphed affidavit deposed to by one Kenechukwu Nomeh, a lawyer in the chambers of Ade Okeaya-Inneh and Co., the government said despite the judgment by Justice Ademola, the Speaker, "has failed, neglected, or refused to give effect to the decision of the court by declaring the seat of the affected members of the House vacant contrary to the provisions of Section 68(2) of the constitution."
Government said that unless the court compel him, Tambuwal would not comply with section 68(2) and declare the seats of the affected lawmakers vacant.