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Court rules on Edo Assembly takeover by NASS

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The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, ruled that the National Assembly lacked the power to order the closure of Edo State House of Assembly.

Also, the court declared that the National Assembly could not direct Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Governor, to issue a fresh Proclamation to the Edo State House of Assembly.

Presiding Judge, Justice Kolawole Omotosho, while giving the verdict on Wednesday, said that would amount to extending the tenure of members of the House of Assembly.

The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Yekini Idiaye, and Henry Okhuarobo, a member of the house had approached the court to decide if the National Assembly had the right to take over the function of the Edo Assembly.

While delivering judgment on the matter, Omotosho said it was only the court that could direct the National Assembly to take over or seal the Edo State Assembly.

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He said, “There is nothing before the court showing that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit.

“Some elected members have been inaugurated. The House has been carrying out its legislative duties.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to take over the Edo State House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is not an appendage of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to seal or direct anybody to seal the Edo State House of Assembly.

“The Nigerian constitution is a federal constitution and the National Assembly cannot unilaterally decide that Edo State House of Assembly is in crisis and seal same.

“It is only a court that has the power to make findings, particularly after listening to parties, to decide if the National Assembly can take over a House of Assembly.

“I hold that it is the Court that has the power to define and hold that Edo State House of Assembly cannot function and the National Assembly can take over.

“As far as the law is concerned, the Governor of Edo State has given a Proclamation. The National Assembly has no power to direct the Governor to issue a fresh Proclamation. The Governor is the Chief Executive of the state and cannot be controlled by the National Assembly.

“The Court will be extending the tenure of members of the Edo State House of Assembly of it holds that the Governor should issue fresh Proclamation. Nigeria is a federal state and state governments are autonomous. Our political actors must see it like that and treat them as such.”

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