Court reinstates sacked Kogi Assembly Speaker
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday reinstated the impeached Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Momoh Jimoh Lawal and other principal officers of the House affected by the purported impeachment.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba in his judgment, ordered the first to fifth defendants to “Immediately vacate the different offices they purportedly occupied by reason of the purported impeachment and removal of the Speaker and other principal officers.”
Consequently, Justice Dimgba directed the Speaker (Lawal) and the other principal officers (second to ninth plaintiffs) to immediately resume their duties in their different offices as they were never impeached and/or removed.
He further held that the process through which the principal officers were removed was not in accordance with Sections 92(2) (c) and 96 of the 1999 Constitution.
By the pronouncement the five Kogi lawmakers – Umar Imam; Friday Sani; Lawal A.T. Ahmed; Bello Abdullahi and John Abah, who were joined as defendants also ceased to be principal officers of the assembly.
Justice Dimgba had ruled that the premise adduced by the five lawmakers who effected the removal of the principal officers, which was that they resigned voluntarily, “was a fatally flawed premise” because they did not place any evidence of the said resignation before the court.
He added that even if the elected officials were impeached on the basis of voluntary resignation, “it was impossible for the meeting of the House of February 16 to produce any legitimate decision, much less one that altered the leadership of the House.”
He said: “By simple arithmetic, for a legislature that is down to 20 members from 25 as at February 16, two-thirds of that means not less than 14 (or 13) members of the House supporting the impeachment.”
Justice Dimgba also ordered the DSS, Civil Defence Corps and KSHA “to immediately restore the security details of the 1st plaintiff (Lawal) and other Principal Officers purportedly impeached or removed by the illegal acts of the 1st to 5th defendants”.
The judge further restrained the seventh to ninth defendants from further barricading the complex of the House of Assembly and preventing the plaintiffs from accessing the hallowed chambers of the KSHA to conduct their legal and legitimate duties as legislators validly elected to represent their various constituencies.