Saraki
Saraki and Dogara/punchng.com

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed May 17 to deliver judgement in a suit seeking the removal of 54 members of the National Assembly.

The Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP) filed the suit against the Senate President Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and 52 other lawmakers for defecting from their various political parties when there was no division in their parties.

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However, the lawmakers through their counsel asked the court to dismiss the suit instituted against them.

They insisted that LEDAP had no locus standi to file the suit against them, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to determine their case.

In their preliminary objection against the suit, the lawmakers urged Justice Okon Abang to dismiss the suit in its entirety because it disclosed no cause of action.

They submitted that the case of the plaintiff had no basis in law because it was not a political party, a voter, or a member of the constituencies who elected them.

Apart from being a non-governmental organisation, the lawmakers said the plaintiff did not disclose what it suffered by their defection.

They added that in all the processes filed, the plaintiff never claimed or exhibited any documents to show that it was a political party or representing any political party or a voter and, therefore, failed to disclose what prompted it to embark on the court action.

Counsel to the Senate President, Mahmud Magaji, prayed the court to hold that the plaintiff was a meddlesome interloper, busy body, and a stranger in the affairs that led to the defection of the lawmakers.

On his part, counsel to the plaintiff, Jibrin Okutepa, asked the court to discountenance the submission of the lawmakers.

He added that the court has the constitutional powers to invoke Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution to sack the lawmakers on account of being federal lawmakers.

Okutepa alleged that the lawmakers cross-carpeted for selfish reasons other than the alleged division in their party.

He, therefore, urged the court to invoke the law by declaring their seats vacant without fair or favour, stressing that heaven would not fall if the defecting lawmakers were relieved of their offices.

After listening to arguments from both parties, Justice Abang fixed May 17 to deliver judgement in the case.

He also directed the lawyers to make available to the court photocopies of cited authorities through the registrar of the court.

In the originating summon, LEDAP asked the court to order the lawmakers to refund all monies they collected from the Federal Government since their defection.