From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The four suspended Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in the Edo State House of Assembly have vowed to continue to attend the Assembly’s sitting in spite of a court order restraining them from doing so.
Addressing journalists in Benin on Saturday, the impeached Deputy Speaker, Festus Ebea, said their suspension elapsed 14 days after it was declared and as such, they are eligible to attend plenary.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, Ebea said when there is a pending appeal against a court ruling or order, those concerned cannot obey such order, adding that “the PDP lawmakers have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court and the stay of execution order of the lower court and until this is disposed of, one cannot obey such order”.
It would be recalled that the appellate court presided over by Justice Mourenike Ogunwujimi and supported by two other Justices, had dismissed an application brought by the suspended lawmakers; Festus Ebea, Jude Ise-Idehen, Patrick Osayimwen, and patrick Ogieriakhi, challenging an order by a Benin High Court restraining them from attending the Assembly’s sitting.
Justice Ogunwujimi said the application lacked merit and directed the lawmakers to obey the order before their appeal could be heard.
“It is trite law also that stay of execution is not granted in void, the party in contempt cannot deliberately flout an order of the court and proceed to seek remedy in a higher court while still in contempt of the lower court,” the court ruled.
The judge noted that the appellants were acting with undue haste, saying, “they did not give the judge who granted the order the opportunity of considering the motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction…”