It was reported that the fight broke out yesterday at the House of Reps after eight prospective members who had been declared election winners last week by the Court of Appeal, were expelled from the chamber as they tried to forcefully reclaim their seats.
The leadership of the House of Reps stated the eight prospective members - all members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPP) and now All Progressive Congress (APC) - can only be given the mandate if the Supreme Court decides on the matter.
The fight was quickly brought under control, but some lawmakers still managed to tackle the 'freshmen'. The latter wee then evicted.
One member of the group that won at the court, Murktar Dan-Dutse, called the move a "conspiracy" to buy time, as the decision of the court, being "declaratory" cannot be delayed while an appeal - in this case to the Supreme Court - is filed.
The journey to the National Assembly
The eight lawmakers and two others at the senate were first declared winners of the 2011 election and sworn into the two chambers. Following a Supreme Court ruling December 2011, their Certificates of Return, were withdrawn by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in favor of those currently occupying the seat.
They current occupants are Senators Abubakar Yar’adua and Hadi Sirika, House of Reps members Ahmed Babba Kaita, Salisu Salisco, Umar Abubakar, Salisu Daura, Isa Doro, Sani Mashi, Abbas Machika and Mansur Funtua.
Those sacked in 2011, and declared winners last week by the Court of Appeal are, Senators Abdu Umar Yandoma and Ahmad Sani Stores; House of Reps members, Murtala Isa, Muntari Dandutse, Musa Salisu, Aminu Ashiru and Umar Adamu Katsayal, Muhammad Tukur, Tasi’u Doguro, and Abdu Dankama.
After the 2011 INEC decision sacking, they challenged the decision at a High Court which ruled that the Commission misinterpreted the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The court in January 2013 overturned INEC’s decision and ordered that they be reinstated. But that ruling was not effected as the second set of lawmakers appealed against the ruling. In its ruling on last Friday, a Court of Appeal affirmed the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The court also said the leadership of the National Assembly acted in error by accepting to swear-in the second set of lawmakers to replace the old ones after INEC issued to them Certificate of Returns.
Justice Jimmy Bada, who led four other judges to hear the appeal, said that the High Court was right to have dismissed the objection raised by the lawmakers currently in the National Assembly.
The lawyer representing the lawmakers who have been ordered to vacate their seats, John Baiyeeshea, said the appeal, which raised four issues for the court’s determination, was not a pre-election matter and as such the federal high court had no jurisdiction to hear and make a pronouncement on it.
He argued that the issuance of Certificates of Return and alleged withdrawal of the certificate are post-election matters, and begged the court to annul the judgement of the high court.
The Appeal Court rejected his claims.