Crisis looms as court reinstates impeached Plateau Speaker

The Plateau State House of Assembly is enmeshed in a crisis following the reinstatement of the impeached Speaker, Hon Abok Ayuba, who was sacked on October 18, 2021.

A high court sitting in Jos yesterday declared the impeachment of Ayuba as illegal, null and void.

The presiding Judge, Justice M. L. Musa, of Court 6, therefore, reinstated him on that ground.

Ayuba was impeached as speaker by some members of the assembly in a sitting held between 6am and 7am on October 18, 2021, and was replaced immediately with the Member representing Pengana Constituency, Hon Yakubu Sanda.

Ayuba challenged his impeachment at the state high court and the legal battle lasted for one year and six months before yesterday’s judgment.

He had sought a declaration that the procedure adopted for his impeachment was in violation of the provisions of Section 92 (2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Order 7, Rule 14 of the Plateau State House of Assembly Rules 2021 and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

He also sought a declaration that his removal as speaker by the votes of less than two-thirds majority or 16 members of the Plateau State House of Assembly was in violation of the provisions of Section 92 (2) (c} of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Order 7, Rule 14 of the Plateau State House of Assembly Rules 2021 and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

The court awarded the sum of N20m as cost of appearance and the sum of N138,000 as cost of filing the matter against the defendant (House of Assembly).

The reinstated speaker, Ayuba, while expressing gratitude to the judiciary after the judgement, said, “With this judgement, I will resume office tomorrow (today) and there will be sitting.”

But in a swift reaction to the judgment, the Majority Leader of the House and House Committee Chairman on Information, Hon Nanlong Daniel, said, “After the impeachment of the former speaker, the house declared his seat vacant, which meant he was no longer a member of the house and could not benefit from the judgement.

“In any case, the house is not even aware of the judgement, and we have not been served. We are just hearing the news as a rumour. Whenever we are served, we will react to it. But for now we are not aware of the judgement. We have respect for the judiciary, and we have the option to appeal the case whenever we are served. But for now we don’t believe there is any judgement against the house.”

 


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