By Clifford Ndujihe & Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, sacked two members of the House of Representatives from Enugu State, yesterday.
The judge ordered the two lawmakers, Stella Ngwu (Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani) and Dennis Agbo (Igbo-Eze North/Udenu) to immediately vacate their seats.
Their removal followed two pre-election suits that queried the process that led to their emergence as winners of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primaries conducted in the state in December 2014.
Delivering judgments on the matter, Justice Abang ordered that the sacked lawmakers be replaced by Dr. Gabriel Okafor (Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani) and Chijioke Ugwu (Igbo-Eze North/Udenu).
He also ordered the removed lawmakers to refund to the coffers of the National Assembly, all monies they collected by way of salaries and allowances.
The court maintained that PDP and its National Working Committee, cited as 1st and 2nd defendants, respectively, had no right or authority to use another delegate list aside names of delegates that emerged from the congress the party held on November 1, 2014.
It directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue certificates of return to both Okafor and Ugwu, even as it awarded N100,000 cost against the defendants in favour of the plaintiff.
While INEC was the third defendant in both cases, the sacked lawmakers, Ngwu and Agbo, were cited as 4th defendants, respectively.
With the ruling, each of the sacked legislators is expected to refund N36.733 million, less taxes, that he earned since June 2015.
Last October, the National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS, released a set of documents, showing what constitutes the earnings of the 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives and a breakdown of what constitutes the monthly take-home pay of each federal lawmaker.
The figure shows that while a Nigerian Senator gets an annual basic salary of N2,026,400, a member of the House of Representatives goes home with N1,985,212.50 per year.
Besides, a Senator takes home a bouquet of allowances which takes his salary to N12,902,360, while a member of the House of Representatives goes home with N9,525,985.50 annually.