A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has asked the 37 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in the House of Representatives who defected to the All Progressive Congress, APC, to vacate their seats and the House.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola gave the order Monday while delivering judgment in a suit filed against the defected lawmakers by the PDP by the ruling party.
The judge said the lawmakers no longer had any business, morally and legally in the Assembly and so should resign.
“Having perused the arguments of counsel and the constitutional provisions, it is clear and unambiguous that the defendants were sponsored by the PDP and won the election on its platform. It is also the court’s opinion that their tenure has not expired and there is no division in the PDP,” Justice Ademola said.
He added: “The defendants are, therefore, not competent to vote or contribute to any proceedings in the House of Representatives. An order of perpetual injunction is, hereby, ordered, restraining them from altering or attempting to change the leadership of the House of Reps.”
In January 2014, PDP instituted a suit against the defected lawmakers who attempted to cause an alteration in the leadership of the House of Representative.
But the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said they would appeal the judgement which in his view is “a product of error of the court”, at a higher court.
In a statement issued and signed by his personal research assistant, Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, the lawmaker said “The judgment is strange and will be appealed; no person can be compelled by law to stay in an association against his or her wishes.”
Gbajabiamila said this negates a fundamental right of association of every citizen that is inalienable, adding that “Section 68 of the constitution has been turned on its head and the error of the court is manifest.”