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Rising Political Tension In Edo State House Of Assembly: Time For The Intervention Of The Chief Justice Of Nigeria; And The Inspector General Of Police By Prevailing On The Four Suspended Lawmakers

Being A Press Conference By The Edo Unity League, Friday
By Edo Unity League

Your Lordship The CJN,

The IGP Sir,

For the purpose of introduction, the Edo Unity League is a body of Nigerian patriots, intellectuals, non-partisan intelligentsias and self employed men and women of Edo State origin, who earnestly desire the socioeconomic and political wellbeing of our people. In the last ten years, we have been articulating developmental blueprints, galvanizing our people in the areas of public private partnership initiatives; as well as communal conflicts resolutions; and these activities are available for verification by anyone who seeks to know.

We wish to unequivocally convey our consternation at the blind-eye or a diabolic lack of concern by the Police and other law enforcement agents on top of the flagrant disdain and odium being melted on judiciary otherwise called the altar of justice by four lawmakers, who were suspended on the 9th of June 2014; and whom have assumed notoriety for their raw display of power at the entrance gate of the Assembly complex - named after Pa. Anthony Enahoro (an internationally acclaimed non-violent campaigner who moved the august motion for Nigeria's Independence in 1956), by mobilizing suspected PDP thugs to defecate the Oba Ovonramwen's Square - the enclosure of the Palace of the Oba of Benin- who passionately appealed to all sides to the conflict; and this appeal has been desecrated by the blunt refusal by the suspended four lawmakers to respect subsisting court summons and restraining orders.

Having regards to the court process and ruling that was instituted at the Federal High Court, Benin division on the 9th of May 2014; wherein some estranged lawmakers who feared that they will be suspended or their seats stood to be declared vacant following their defection from the ruling All People's Congress (APC) to the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP). And in its ruling on the two prayers sought by the plattifs (four PDP legislators) namely - 1. That their seats should not be declared vacant by the 1st and 2nd defendants (INEC and the the Speaker, House of Assembly) following their defection, pending the determination of the substantive suit. 2. That the Speaker of Edo state House of Assembly should be restrained from suspending them pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The judge in very clear and unambiguous terms granted the 1st prayers and denied the second one. In denying the 2nd prayer, in a ruling granted on the 6th if June 2014 Hon. Justice A.M. Liman averred inter Alia "that the disciplinary power of the House is not subject to the judicial review of the court, accordingly the application to restrain the 2nd Respondent from suspending the applicants from House is hereby refused". It is not in doubt that it was not within the powers of the leneared Judge or the court of law to obstruct the constitutional powers of the Speaker and members of the second arm of Government.

And subsequently, the House of Assembly resolved at plenary to suspend four lawmakers (three out of the four lawmakers that filed the court action) and the Deputy speaker on what it termed 'gross misconduct'. We are deeply alarmed by the peace-threatening methodology that the four lawmakers have resorted to, including publicly disregarding an order of court served on them by the court's bailiff. This attitude was replicated the following day when the state chairman of the PDP lampooned the judiciary over the court summons, restraining order and contempt charges filed against the suspended four legislators. These shenanigans in our view does NOT portend positive attributes to democracy and the rule of law, which most Nigerians paid supreme prize to attain; hence THE NEED TO PASSIONATELY APPEAL TO MADAM CJN AND MR. IGP TO COMPEL THESE WAR-MONGERING ASSEMBLY MEMBERS RESPECT OUR COUT'S PRONOUNCEMENTS.

We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts that the seeming lackadaisical attitude of the Inspector General of Police to act as swiftly as anticipated by our legal system in restoring order to the House of Assembly complex for good legislative businesses is a grave design to undermine the peace and hospitality pedigree of Edo people. In the spirit of proactive justice, we humbly call on Madam CJN and the Senate President to compel the dramatis personae to respect subsisting court rulings dutifully served on them under the watchful-eyes of electronic media.

The attempt by the four Edo lawmakers who initiated the action at the federal High court to mechanize jungle justice by mobilizing armed thugs to the Assembly complex - a building named after Pa. Anthony Enahoro (who is an internationally acknowledged non-violent campaigner); and the daily bravado daily displayed by suspected PDP thugs at the Oba Ovonramwen King's Square, despite the Oba of Benin's frantic appeal to all the lawmakers (to maintain peace by every means posible, which does not preclude disregarding the subsisting court's pronouncements) is a desecration of the sanctity of our royal heritage, and this is an unpardonable affront on our psyche and collective integrity. Let it be known that the plan to foist a state of emergency in our state will be frontally resisted in all fronts, even with the last drop of our blood.

Sadly, in the last one month of commotion-foisted Assembly complex, Edo state Governor has been monumentally distracted from giving effect to desirable public services that are germane to the socioeconomic and political wellbeing of our dear state, alas, we are ready to mobilize enmass to the office of the IGP in Abuja to prevail on him to compel the lawmakers to respect the court's order, if the four lawmakers refused to comply within two weeks after our publication.

For and on behalf of all members and trustees.

Arc. Momodu E. Obadan - Vice Chairman, Edo North Senatorial District.