Inside Nigeria

Sack: Ebonyi lawmakers hold plenary despite court order, declare 3 PDP members’ seats vacant

Bolanle Olabimtan

Some lawmakers of the Ebonyi state house of assembly participated in a plenary of the house on Tuesday, despite an order of an Abuja federal high court sacking them.

On March 8, Inyang Ekwo, presiding judge at a federal high court in Abuja, sacked David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi; Eric Igwe, his deputy and 16 members of the state assembly over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The judge held that the votes polled belonged to the PDP and cannot be transferred to the APC, and ordered the lawmakers to vacate their positions with immediate effect.

Consequently, Ekwo ordered the PDP to present candidates to replace the lawmakers or, in the alternative, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct a fresh poll within 90 days.


Speaking to journalists at the plenary session in Abakaliki on Tuesday, Arinze Chukwu, member representing Ishielu south and the house committee chairman on information, said the judgment has been appealed.

“We have appealed the judgment and until it is determined, we are not barred from holding plenary,” he said.

“No court, therefore, stops us from holding plenary and we will continue to serve our people.”


The lawmaker added that during the plenary, the house declared the seats of three of its members vacant over their “resignation”.

According to him, the affected members are Victor Aleke (PDP–Ebonyi north-west), Okechukwu Ali (PDP–Ishielu north), and Franca Okpo (PDP–Abakaliki north).

“Their letters were submitted to the house on March 10 and they contended that they want to engage in other ventures other than lawmaking,” he said.

Francis Nwifuru, speaker of the assembly and one of the lawmakers sacked by the court, was said to have presided over the plenary.


Nwifuru also read the resignation letters and announced that the house was proceeding on a three-month recess.

Meanwhile, Aleke, whose seat was declared vacant, had denied his resignation.

Speaking with NAN, Aleke described his purported resignation as a “hoax” and challenged the house to publish the letter for the public to see.

“There is no way another person will read a resignation letter said to have emanated from me,” he said.

“Above all, such plenary was illegal as a competent court had already declared the seats of those who held it vacant.”

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