New Telegraph

10th Assembly: 40 Lawmakers May Lose Seat

No fewer than 40 Nigerian lawmakers are likely to vacate their seats for concurrent membership of the National Assembly and Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) Parliament as well as the Pan-African Parliament, if a suit filed against them succeeds.

New Telegraph gathered that the suit filed by the Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners, (ALDRAP), a non-governmental organisation seeks to promote transparency and accountability in governance through public interest litigations, advocacy, policy engagements.

The body had earlier called on the President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill  Akpabio to declare the seats of the affected lawmakers vacant for belonging to multiple parliament’s at the same time and collecting emoluments from all.

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Emerging reports revealed that having failed to comply with the call, the body served a pre-action notice on the Senate President and copied the Clerk of the National Assembly, indicating its readiness to seek judicial redress if the call was not heeded.

The body, in the letter dated April 8, signed by its Secretary, Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, warned that in the event that the Senate President fails to comply with its request within seven working days from the date of the letter, it shall commence a lawsuit to seek the interpretation of a court of law.

In the alternative, the body offered to draft two bills for domestication of both the international instruments establishing both the ECOWAS Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament.

The group insisted that the practice of serving both bodies violates Section 68(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 18, Supplementary Act of the ECOWAS Parliament, 2017, which prohibits a serving member of a parliament serving with it and collecting emoluments.

In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, ALDRAP asks the court to determine whether having regard to Section 68 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered), any member of the National Assembly who wishes to take a seat at the ECOWAS Parliament and/or the Pan-African Parliament, ought to first resign from the National Assembly.

“In the alternative: whether having regard to Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered), the provisions of the ECOWAS Parliament legislation, which allocates 35 seats to Nigeria, has not yet become legally operative within Nigeria considering that both the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly have not subjected the said parliament to the legislative procedure prescribed under Section 12.”

The prayed the court to make a “Declaration that the 5th defendant (Clerk of the National Assembly) shall immediately discontinue the payment of salaries and all forms of remuneration to all 40 lawmakers who were recently inaugurated as either members of the 6th Assembly of the ECOWAS Parliament and/or the Pan-African Parliament”.

It also prayed for an order directing the Clerk of the National Assembly immediately discontinue the payment of salaries and all forms of remuneration to all the 40 lawmakers who were recently inaugurated as either members of the 6th assembly of the ECOWAS Parliament and/or the Pan-African Parliament.

The group, in the same vein, asks the court to order the 6th defendant (INEC) to immediately conduct bye-elections within 30 days from the date of the vacancy to fill all 40 vacant seats at the National Assembly.

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