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Sacked Akwa Ibom Lawmakers: Commissioner of police restrained from aiding their return

Idongesit Udofia

The Akwa Ibom state High Court sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, today, thursday, March 9, 2019 has given her judgement in the case filed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly against the Commissioner of Police (Akwa Ibom state command) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

Delivering Judgement in the case filed in December 21, 2018, by the State Assembly praying the court, inter alia, to restrain *“ the Commissioner of Police and all other policemen or officers acting on his behalf from interfacing with the lawful activities of the House of Assembly and from carrying out any act or action aimed at aiding the 5 ex-lawmakers gain access into the Assembly Complex and/or into the plenary sessions of the House”*, the court per, Hon. Justice Ekaette F.F Obot granted all the reliefs sought for by the claimants.

The Nigeria Police by this judgement is therefore prohibited from any acts of interference with the activities of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, particularly in aid of the 5- ex-lawmakers who lost their seats at the House of Assembly sequel to the invocation by the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, of the powers vested in him by Section 109 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

By Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution, a member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his seat if –

“being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another poliical party before the expiration of the period for which the house was elected.”

Recall that upon the exercise of this power by the Speaker, Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, the Commissioner of Police had led officers of the Police force to escort the 5 ex-lawmakers to hold a purported seating at the House of Assembly Complex presided over by one Mr Nse Ntuen, former member representing Essien Udim state constituency in the House of Assembly.

By this judgement, the court also condemned such acts by the police and further restrains them from engaging in such or similar actions in the future.

Speaking after the judgement, Ini Ememobong who led Beulah Udechukwu to appear for the Claimant(AKHA) noted that the judgement came as a victory, not just for the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly but also victory for our struggling democracy. He further stated that the Nigerian Police must always remember that they are a law enforcement body and therefore must always respect the law.

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