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Edo Assembly Declares Defected Members’ Seats Vacant

Ignatius Okpara, Benin

The crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, on Thursday took a new twist as the lawmakers, declared the seat of one of its members, Abdul Razak Momoh, representing Etsako 1 constituency vacant.

Speaker of the House, Uyi Igbe, who made the pronouncement during  their plenary at the old assembly complex in Benin city, the state capital explained that Momoh, defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) without going through the laid down procedure of defection.

He further noted that session 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, authorized the Speaker to declare the seat of a lawmaker vacant upon defection from the party he was elected to another party.

The Speaker however, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), to take necessary steps to fill the vacant position within 90 days, as stipulated by the nation’s electoral law

In his reaction, Hon. Momoh, described the action as laughable, saying the 15 APC lawmakers who took the decision violated the court’s action he instituted against them for forging his signature.

The embattled legislator, disclosed that there was a subsisting court order stopping the House from declaring seats vacant, suspending and stopping the salaries of the defected lawmakers.

He recalled that the Speaker had in the past said he (Momoh) was not suspended because of a pending legal action he instituted against the Assembly.

“The court restrained them from suspending and declaring my seat vacant. It is already a known fact that they do not obey court orders.

“What they have done today is null and void because the Government House is not the designated place for legislative activities”. He declared

It would be recalled that the APC and PDP lawmakers in Edo state House of Assembly, have been at each other’s throat since June 9, when the lingering crisis broke out over who controls the legislative house.


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