Defecting Lawmakers: House, Others Appeal High Court Judgment


BEVERLY HILLS, CA, April 01, (THEWILL) - As controversy continues to trail Monday's judgement by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court Abuja, the House of Representatives, its Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha on Tuesday appealed the judgement which restrained defecting lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from effecting any change in the leadership of the House.

The notice of appeal was filed in Abuja on Tuesday by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN) and the three appellants faulted Justice Ademola's reasoning and urged the Court of Appeal, Abuja to set aside the judgment.

The judgment was based on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/4/14 filed by the PDP against the House of Representatives, its principal officers and members of the House, who defected from the party to the APC.

Raising seven grounds of appeal, with a promise to add more, the appellants argued that the judgment was 'perverse, not supported by the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.

' They further stated that the trial judge 'erred in law when he granted reliefs not sought by the plaintiff.

' Contended that the judgment 'is against the weight of evidence,' the appellants said the judge erred 'when he granted the reliefs sought by the plaintiff and 'went further to hold that the 1st to 39th respondents ought to have resigned their seats as members of the 1st appellant.

' They argued that the judge erred when he held that the reliefs of the 1st respondent (PDP) were justiciable and proceeded to grant the reliefs sought without considering the provision of Section 30 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap L12 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The section provides that 'neither the President nor the Speaker as the case may be, of a legislative house shall be subjected to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in him by or under this Act or the standing orders of the Constitution.

' The appellants argued that the trial judge wrongly assumed jurisdiction over the suit, which was predicated on the internal affairs of the House, a matter that is protected by Section 60 of the Constitution.

They further argued that the reliefs sought by the PDP were not justiciable, yet the trial judge proceeded to grant the reliefs.

They reiterated their earlier argument that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the case because it was not predicated on any recognised legal interest; the reliefs sought were not supported by any legal evidence and that the judge failed to reckon with the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Fawehinmi vs Akilu (1987) 12 SC 136, Amaechi vs INEC (2008)1 LRECN 1.

The appellants faulted the trial judge for holding that the suit was rightly commenced with originating summons, without regard to the provision of Order 3 Rule 6 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009.

They also argued that the judge was wrong to have held that the claims of the PDP did not amount to an abuse of court process when there were similar cases, involving the same parties, still pending before the court.

They referred to suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/621/2013 between Senator Bello Hayato Gwazo and 79 others vs Alhaji Bamaga Tukur and 4 others.

They argued that the parties and reliefs sought were similar with that on which the judge gave judgment.