by ‘Jola Sotubo
The tenures of some legislators in Katsina State have been forcefully terminated after the Court of Appeal in Abuja declared that they had held the positions wrongfully.
The sack order affected two Senators and eight House of Representatives members from the state, who filled the legislative positions after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) relieved the initial occupants of their seats in December 2011.
The affected legislators are Senators Abubakar Yar’adua and Hadi Sirika, House of Reps members Ahmed Babba Kaita, Salisu Salisco, Umar Abubakar, Salisu Daura, Isa Doro, Sani Mashi, Abbas Machika and Mansur Funtua.
Premium Times reports:
The court ordered that those sacked by INEC be reinstated.
The first set of lawmakers were sacked in December 2011 by the electoral body which said they were not the due candidates for the elections on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
Those who were so sacked in 2011 are Senators Abdu Umar Yandoma and Ahmad Sani Stores, House of Reps members, Murtala Isa, Muntari Dandutse, Musa Salisu, Aminu Ashiru and Umar Adamu Katsayal, Muhammad Tukur, Tasi’u Doguro, and Abdu Dankama.
That decision was overturned in January 2013 by a High Court in Abuja, which ordered that the initial winners be reinstated. But that ruling was not effected as the second set of lawmakers appealed against the ruling.
In its ruling on Friday, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja which voided the withdrawal of Certificate of Returns of the first 10 Katsina lawmakers.
The court also said the leadership of the National Assembly acted in error by accepting to swear-in the second set of lawmakers to replace the old ones after INEC issued to them Certificate of Returns.
Justice Jimmy Bada, who led four other judges to hear the appeal said that the High Court was right to have dismissed the objection raised by the lawmakers currently in the National Assembly.
“There is no court of competent jurisdiction that declared the appellant as winner in the election,” the judge said.
“The respondents (those whose certificate of returns were withdrawn) were duly sworn-in and I am of the view that the court below has the powers to entertain the case of the respondent.
“The certificate of returns issued to the appellants is a nullity. The court below was right in dismissing the objection of the appellants. INEC issued the certificate of returns without order from any court or tribunal”.
The lawyer representing the lawmakers who have been ordered to vacate their seats, John Baiyeeshea, said the appeal, which raised four issues for the court’s determination, was not a pre-election matter and as such the federal high court had no jurisdiction to hear and make a pronouncement on it.
He argued that the issuance of Certificates of Return and alleged withdrawal of the certificate are post-election matters, and begged the court to annul the judgement of the high court.
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