The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Thursday, reinstated the impeached Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Momoh Jimoh Lawal.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, the court equally restored the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Aliyu Akuh and seven other Principal Officers of the Kogi State House of Assembly, saying the process that led to their purported impeachment on February 16, 2016, was unconstitutional and illegal.
It said their removal was not in line with provisions of sections 90, 91, 92 (2) (c), 95 (1) & (2) and 96(1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Consequently, the court voided the purported election of Hon. Umar Imam as the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, as well as the emergency of four others- Friday Sani; Lawal A.T. Ahmed; Bello Abdullahi and John Abah as principal officers of the House.
Aside the Speaker and his Deputy, others the court also reinstated were Hon. Kolawole Mathew, Osiyi Godwin, Sunday Shigaba, Ndako Idris, Oluwatoyin Lawal, Musa Jimoh and Victor Omofaye.
Specifically, the court held that “The continued sitting and conduct of the affairs of the Kogi State House of Assembly by the 1st – 5th defendants after the purported removal of the 1st plaintiff and other principal officers of the House and purported installation of themselves as principal officers of the Kogi State House of Assembly on the 16th day of February, 2016, is illegal having regard to section 96(1) of the Constitution and Rule 5(1)”.
Besides, it restrained the Inspector General of Police, Director General of the State Security Service, Commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, who were 7th to 8th defendants in the suit, “from further barricading the complex of the House of Assembly and preventing the plaintiffs from accessing the hallowed chambers if the Kogi State House of Assembly to conduct their legal and legitimate duties as legislators validly elected to represent their various constituencies”.
The court however declined to declare that the security agencies, by their actions, aided and abetted the five lawmakers to carry out the purported impeachment as well as subsequent withdrawal of the Speaker’s vehicles (official and personal) and withdrawal of security operatives attached to the embattled Speaker.
It also refused to award general damages in the sum of N500million. The judgement followed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/184/16, which the removed Speaker, his Deputy, seven other lawmakers and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lodged before the court through their lawyer, Mr. Emeka Etiaba, SAN.
Cited as 1st to 5th defendants in the matter were the five lawmakers that effected the purported impeachment, the aforementioned security agencies and the Kogi State House of Assembly. The plaintiffs prayed the court to determine whether in view of provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Rules 3(1) & (2) of the Standing Rules of Kogi State House of Assembly dated February 15, 2016, their removal was not unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.