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Respite For Saraki, Dogara, Others As Court Dismisses Defection Suit

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There was respite, yesterday, for Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and 56 others, when Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, struck out the suit seeking their removal from office following their defection last year into different political parties other than the one that brought them to office.

Justice Abang struck out the suit for being incompetent and lacking in merit on the grounds that the plaintiff had no locus standi to file the action.

The Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP) had approached the Court with a suit seeking to declare the seat of the affected national lawmakers vacant over their defection to the two major political parties in 2018.

In his judgement, the court held that although the plaintiff had a very good case against the defenfants, however, its lack of locus standi in the matter robbed the court of necessary jurisdiction to deal on the main issue.

The court agreed with counsel to Saraki and others, Mahmoud Magaji SAN, that the advocacy body that filed the suit was not competent by law to do so.

“I am persuaded to hold that though the plaintiff has a good case, promoting the rule of law, regulating the unlawful defection of legislators amongst others, the plaintiff has no locus standi to institute the suit”, Abang held.

According to Abang, the plaintiff lacked the right to institute the suit because it is not a political party, it is not INEC that monitors and regulates political parties, neither is it a member of the constituency of defectors nor a registered political party.

Moreso, the court held that the plaintiff did not place anything before it to show that the constituencies are aware of the suit or that it has a special interest far above that of the general public.

Abang held that because the plaintiff lacked locus standi, the court couldn’t invoke section 68 of the 1999 Constitution against the defectors and declare their seats vacant.

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