Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting by-elections on the 14 seats declared vacant by the Edo State House of Assembly.
Justice Mohammed gave the order while ruling on the application filed by the 14 lawmakers who were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The State House of Assembly had last year declared the seats vacant after the lawmakers failed to present themselves for the inauguration at the House.
The 14 lawmakers are – Victor Edoror, Washington Osifo, Vincent Uwadiae, Kingsley Ugabi, Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Sunday Aghedo, Chris Okaeben, Crosby Eribo, Aliyu Oshiomhole, Oshomah Ahmed, Ganiyu Audu, Ugiagbe Dumez, Uyi Ekhosuehi and Eric Okaka.
The Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, and INEC are listed as first and second respondents in the suit.
The judge ruled that the order would remain binding till January 28, the date set for the hearing of any opposition to the restraining order requested by the lawmakers.
The lawmakers had on December 10, 2019, filed the ex parte application and asked the court to restrain INEC and Okiye from going ahead with the bye-election.
At Tuesday’s proceedings, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Ikhide Ehighelua, reminded the court of his clients’ pending application and the court’s orders of December 12, 2019.
While the Edo State Speaker was not represented by any lawyer, the INEC counsel, Mr. Femi Adeyemi, acknowledged that the Commission was served with all the processes as ordered by the court except the ex-parte motion.