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The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, restrained both the Senate and the House of Representatives from taking over legislative duties of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ordered parties in the matter to maintain status quo, pending the determination of a suit that was lodged by the embattled Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Hon. Francis Okiye. Justice Taiwo fixed August 22 to hear the case, even as he directed the National Assembly to within seven days, respond to the suit challenging plans by federal lawmakers to assume legislative functions of the Edo State Assembly.
Okiye had in the joint suit he filed with the Edo Assembly marked FHC/ABJ/CS/815/2019, among other things, queried the legal competence of a directive the federal legislature handed to Governor Godwin Obaseki, to issue a fresh proclamation to inaugurate the Edo State House of Assembly. The National Assembly had threatened to take over legislative duties and powers of the Edo State Assembly, should the governor fail to make the fresh proclamation within three weeks.
Determined to abort the plan, Okiye approached the court with an Originating Summons. Even though he applied for an interim injunction against the National Assembly, Justice Taiwo said he was minded to hear the substantive matter on the adjourned date. Cited as 1st and 2nd defendants in the matter are the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori and the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Edo State 7th Assembly was on June 17, inaugurated under controversial circumstances, with nine out of 24 members-elect, selecting Okiye as the Speaker. Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Ola Olanipekun, SAN, had lamented before the court that the Senate had after it was duly served with the legal processes, still passed a resolution on July 30 to takeover the Edo Assembly if the governor fails to issue fresh proclamation. He said it was disheartening that despite the fact that governor Obaseki’s earlier proclamation was officially gazetted, with members of the State Assembly duly inaugurated and principal members elected, the National Assembly, still vowed to highjack legislative functions in the state.