Appeal court sack 2 senators, 8 reps

The Court of Appeal, Abuja yesterday resolved the lingering dispute over the last legislative elections in Katsina State.
The court, in a unanimous judgment, affirmed an earlier judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja which voided the withdrawal of certificate of returns issued to 10 Katsina lawmakers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had, shortly after the last general election in 2011, withdrawn the certificates of return issued to 10 members of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) in Katsina State.
The commission later handed the certificates to another set of 10 members of the same party in December 2011.
Members of the latter set were sworn in and were accepted by the leadership of the National Assembly.
Those from whom INEC withdrew the certificates of return include Abdu Umar Yandoma and Ahmad Sani Stores (elected as senators) and Murtala Isa, Muntari Dandutse, Musa Salisu, Aminu Ashiru, Umar Adamu Katsayal, Muhammad Tukur, Tasi’u Doguro and Abdu Dankama (elected as members of the House of Representatives).
Those to whom INEC handed the certificates of return include Abubakar Yar’adua and Hadi Sirika (as senators) and Ahmed Babba Kaita, Salisu Salisco, Umar Abubakar, Salisu Daura, Isa Doro, Sani Mashi, Abbas Machika and Dr Mansur Funtua (as reps).
In the lead judgment read yesterday by Justice Jimi Olukayode Baba, the appellate court held that the leadership of the National Assembly acted in error by accepting to swear in the latter set of lawmakers issued certificates of return by INEC after it withdrew them form the first group it had issued the certificates
The court further held that the High Court was right to dismiss the objection raised by the appellants (the lawmakers issued with the certificates of return).
“There is no court of competent jurisdiction that declared the appellant as winner in the election.
“The respondents (those whose certificate of returns were withdrawn) were duly sworn in and I am of the view that the court below has the powers to entertain the case of the respondent.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 certificates of return issued to the appellants is a nullity. The court below was right in dismissing the objection of the appellants. INEC issued the certificates of return without any order from any court or tribunal.”
The aggrieved group had gone before the Federal High Court, Abuja to challenge INEC’s unilateral withrawal of the certificates of return earlier issued to them.
The Federal High Court, in its judgment, voided INEC’s action, which was not based on any order of a competent court.
The group that benefited from INEC’s alleged unlawful act appealed the High Court’s decision, an appeal on which the appellate court decided yesterday.
In a separate judgment yesterday, the appellate court upheld the election of a senator elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Plateau North Senatorial District, Gyang Pwajok.
The court, in the judgment read by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, held that appeal against the election of the appellant by the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) had become an academic exercise in view of the fact that CPC was no longer in existence.

No comments