Defection: Court strikes out suit seeking sack of Saraki, Dogara, 52 other lawmakers

Senate President, Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday struck out a suit seeking the removal of Senate President Bukola Saraki and 53 other lawmakers from office following their defection from one political party to another.

A civic group had asked that their seats be declared vacant due to their defection from the parties on whose platforms they were elected.

The group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), had on September 14, 2018, asked the Federal High Court to order that the members of the National Assembly who defected should vacate their seats.

In July 2018, 37 members of the House of Representatives defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

About 32 of them joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), four joined the African Democratic Congress (ADC) while one did not announce his new party at the time.

On the same day, 14 APC senators defected to the PDP.

Meanwhile, being part of the defendants, Mr Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in their response asked the court to dismiss the suit filed by the group on grounds that it is an abuse of court process.

The duo added that the suit lacked merit.

The defendants had submitted that the plaintiff has no ‘locus standi’ to institute the case.

Delivering judgement on Friday, the judge, Okon Abang, held that “the plaintiff’s case has merit but lacks locus standi to institute the case.”

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“The plaintiff that instituted this case is not a political party that sponsored the election of the lawmakers.

“Also the plaintiff is not Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) that regulates the activities of political parties and monitor elections.

“The plaintiff is not a registered voter in Nigeria.

“They are not members of the National Assembly.”

“None of the political party that sponsored the lawmakers is a party in this case.”

“They, therefore, lack the capacity, legal power to institute the case.

“The plaintiff’s case is incompetent and thereby struck out,” Mr Abang ruled.

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