Defection: Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking Saraki, Dogara’s Sack

SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, (THEWILL) – The Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to declare vacant the seats of 54 National Assembly members who defected from the political parties which sponsored their elections to other ones last year.

The legislators to be affected by the suit include the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; 1and a former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Okon Abang held that the plaintiff which instituted the suit, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.

He held that LEDAP’s status as a registered corporate body under the Company and Allied Matters Act was not sufficient to confer the right to institute the action on behalf of the public.

He added that the plaintiff, not being the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the political parties from which the legislators left, a member of any of the political parties, a member of the constituencies of the legislators or a registered voter in the lawmakers’ constituencies, lacked the legal capacity to institute the action.

The judge held that despite the noble intention of the plaintiff, its lack of locus standi to file the action had robbed the court of the jurisdiction to consider the merit of its claims in the suit.

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