Thursday, September 24THE LEGISLATURE

Defection: Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking to Declare Seats of Saraki, Dogara Vacant

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday struck out a suit seeking an order to declare vacant the seats of 54 National Assembly members dumped the political parties for other ones prior to the 2019 general election.

The suit targeted the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, a former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio among others.

In the judgment delivered on Friday May 17, Justice Okon Abang held that the plaintiff which instituted the suit, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, lacked the locus standi (the legal right) to institute the suit.

Abang also affirmed that the plaintiff, not being the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the political parties from which the legislators defected to the other ones, a member of any of the political parties, a member of the constituencies of the legislators or a registered voter in the lawmakers’ constituencies, lacked the legal capacity to institute the action.

He declared that despite the noble intention of the plaintiff, its lack of locus standi to file the action had robbed the court of the jurisdiction to consider the merit of its claims in the suit.

The court faulted the plaintiff’s failure to join the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the Action Democratic Congress which sponsored the elections of the decampees.

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