Defection: Court Suspends Judgment In Suit Seeking To Remove Saraki, 55 Others


Justice Okon Abang has suspended judgment in a suit filed by the legal defence and assistant project seeking the removal of the Senate president and fifty-five lawmakers who decamped from their various political parties to other parties. 

In his ruling, Justice Okon held that even though the lawmakers were duly served and had ample time to defend themselves they failed to do so but instead choose to disrespect the court and then turn around to try and arrest the judgment of the court.

He, however, held that the court is a court of justice and equity as such no matter how good a proceeding is, it will not be in the interest of fair hearing to shut a party out as such, based on the grounds of fair hearing the court is inclined to bend over backward to accommodate the lawmakers and hear them.

The Federal High Court seven presided over by Justice Okon Abang ought to have delivered a judgment on the defection of lawmakers including the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki in a suit seeking their removal for defecting from their political party before the expiration of their term in office.

However, the judgment was not to be as the lawmaker sort the leave of court to be heard and also questioned the jurisdiction of the court and the stake of the plaintiff the legal defence and assistance project a civil society organisation.

Counsel to the lawmakers Mahmud Magaji argued that the lawmakers should be heard because the suit is defective and the lawmakers are also questioning the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit. According to him even at the point of judgment a court is inclined to hear a party in a suit that affects it.

However, objecting to the application, counsel to the plaintiff  Uko Ede argued that the move of the lawmakers is intended to arrest the judgment, even though they had ample time to enter a defence against the suit  since it was filed eight months ago.

He therefore urged the court to reject the application.

Having listened to both parties Justice Okon Abang decided to suspend his judgment. He based his decision not on the application of the lawmakers but what he described as a right to fair hearing.

According to him even though the lawmakers treated the court with disdain and levity the court is a court of justice and equity and not withstanding the brilliant submission of the plaintiff, it will be wrong for the court to exercise its powers against the principles of fair hearing as such despite the disrespectful attitude of the lawmakers to the court and its proceedings the court will give them a chance to be heard.


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