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Court strikes out Edo ex-Speaker’s objection

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—THE preliminary objection filed by the former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Zakawanu Garuba, against an originating summons filed by 13 Action Congress, AC, lawmakers, led by Mr. Peter Aliu, who was speaker pro tempore, was yesterday struck out by a Benin High Court presided over by Justice E. A . Edigin.
Earlier in the suit instituted by the 13 AC lawmakers, Edo State House of Assembly had asked for a declaration that the appointment of speaker protem pore was valid and lawful.

They also asked the court to grant them an injunction restraining Zakawanu Garuba and Levis Aigbogun from purporting to carry out an official act in the capacity of speaker and deputy speaker of the legislature respectively.

However, in his  preliminary objection to the suit, the former speaker challenged the decision of the court to entertain the suit brought by Peter Aliu and others contending that the plaintiff had no locus standi to institute the action and had no cause of action.

The former speaker also averred that only the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit in pursuant of section 251 of the 1999 constitution as, according to him, “the third defendant (Commissioner of Police) being an agent of the Inspector General of Police is a federal agency.”

Ruling on the preliminary objection, Justice E. A. Edigin held that the plaintiffs were the proper parties to request the court for adjudication on the issues formulated in the determination on the originating summons.

On the issue of whether the plantiff has any course of action, the Judge held that the defendant conducted themselves in an unparliamentarily manner.

“The first and second defendant by their conduct of not accepting their suspension called into the question the validity or otherwise of the plaintiff appointment.”, she held.

Justice Edigin however ordered that the originating summons be converted to writ of summons and directed the parties to file their pleadings as there were contentions on issues to be resolved whether two third members actually signed the impeachment notice.


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