Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, ordered both the Senate and the House of Representatives to halt their plan to take over the legislative duties of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The court, which was presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, made the order at the resumed hearing of the case.
The case was instituted by the Edo State Government to challenge the directive by the two chambers of the National Assembly Governor Godwin Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation of the state’s House of Assembly.
Edo Assembly crisis began when the Assembly was inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night with only nine, out of 24 lawmakers-elect, on June 17. The federal lawmakers had threatened to take over the legislative duties and powers of the Edo Assembly should the governor failed to make the fresh proclamation within three weeks.
But, Justice Taiwo ordered the parties in the case to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the case.
A Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court restrained the governor from issuing a fresh proclamation to the Assembly.
The court order countered the Senate’s resolution which directed Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation to the Assembly in order to bring to an end the political crisis which has prevented the assembly from carrying out its legislative activities for several weeks now.
The restraining order followed a motion ex parte filed by the Edo Assembly Deputy Dpeaker, Yekini Idiaye, and another lawmaker, Henry Okhuarobo, who represents Ikpoba-Okha state constituency.
The Edo State government had described the Senate resolution on the Assembly crisis as unconstitutional and a flagrant disregard for the principle of separation of powers.
But National Assembly has said it will appeal the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja restraining it from taking over the functions of the Edo Assembly.
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, stated this in a statement, yesterday.
Kalu, who faulted the court order, said the resolution of the two chambers of the National Assembly is in line with the provisions of Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), if Governor Obaseki, fails to issue a fresh proclamation for the re-inauguration of the Assembly.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki, yesterday, sworn in three additional commissioners as members of his cabinet.
The swearing in took place during the weekly State Executive Council meeting.
The three commissioners are John Inegbedion (Ministry of Infrastructure), Joseph Eboegbe (Ministry of Finance) and Akin Agbaje (Ministry of Electricity and Energy).
The swearing is coming barely three weeks after the governor swore in six commissioners and five special advisers.