Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday reinstated the impeached speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, the court equally restored the deputy speaker, Hon. Aliyu Akuh and seven other principal officers of the Assembly, saying the process that led to their purported impeachment on February 16, 2016, was unconstitutional and illegal.
It said their removal was not in line with provisions of sections 90, 91, 92 (2) (c), 95 (1) & (2) and 96(1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Consequently, the court voided the purported election of Hon. Umar Imam as the speaker of the House of Assembly, as well as the emergency of four others – Friday Sani, Lawal A.T. Ahmed, Bello
Abdullahi and John Abah as principal officers of the House.
Aside the speaker and his deputy, others the court also reinstated were Hon. Kolawole Mathew, Osiyi Godwin, Sunday Shigaba, Ndako Idris, Oluwatoyin Lawal, Musa Jimoh and Victor Omofaye.
The court also held that, “The continued sitting and conduct of the affairs of the Kogi State House of Assembly by the first to fifth defendants after the purported removal of the first plaintiff and other principal officers of the House, and purported installation of themselves as principal officers of the Kogi State House of Assembly on the 16th day of February, 2016, is illegal, having regard to section 96(1) of the Constitution and Rule 5(1).”
Besides, it restrained the Inspector General of Police, director general of the Department of State Services, commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, who were seventh to eighth defendants in the suit, “from further barricading the complex of the House of Assembly and preventing the plaintiffs from accessing the hallowed chambers of the Kogi State House of Assembly to conduct their legal and legitimate duties as legislators validly elected to represent their various constituencies.”
The court, however, declined to declare that the security agencies, by their actions, aided and abetted the five lawmakers to carry out the purported impeachment as well as subsequent withdrawal of the speaker’s vehicles (official and personal) and withdrawal of security operatives attached to him.
It also refused to award general damages in the sum of N500million.
The judgement followed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/184/16, which the removed speaker, his deputy, seven other lawmakers and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lodged before the court through their lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN).
Cited as defendants in the matter were the five lawmakers that effected the purported impeachment, the aforementioned security agencies and the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The plaintiffs prayed the court to declare, in view of provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Rules 3(1) & (2) of the Standing Rules of Kogi State House of Assembly dated February 15, 2016, that their removal was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.