Hearing on Kogi Assembly Crisis Commences Monday

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The hearing of a suit filed against five members of the Kogi State House of Assembly opposed to the leadership of the Speaker, Hon. Momoh-Jimoh Lawal, is expected to commence on Monday, April 18, 2016, at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

This is sequel to an order by the court granting the embattled speaker and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leave to serve the five lawmakers and security agencies involved in the case through newspaper publications, which the plaintiffs have since complied with.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had on March 23, 2016, granted the application by the Plaintiffs for substituted service on the defendants but ordered that rather than serve by courier as prayed by the plaintiffs, the plaintiff must serve by Newspaper publication to ensure that the Defendants get adequate notice of the case against them.

Consequently, the five members and of the house and other accused persons are therefore expected to appear before the court when the matter opens for hearing on Monday.

The defendants are Hon Umar Imam, Hon. Friday Sani, Hon. Lawi AT Ahmed, Hon. Bello Abdullahi and Hon. John Abah. Others include, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, Director General of Department of State Services (DSS) and Commandant, National Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Also, the court abridged the time for appearance and filing of defence to seven days, excluding public holidays and vacation period.

When the case was called up on March 23, counsel for the plaintiffs, Emeka Etiaba, who led two other counsel, informed the court that they had two Ex-Parte Motions.

According to him, one was for order for substituted services, which he argued was necessary since the 1st to 5th defendants were evading service, while the second he noted, sought an abridgement of the time within which the Defendants will file appearance and their defence to the Suit.

On February 16, 2016, the 1st to 5th Defendants, under the protection of law enforcement agents, purportedly impeached the Speaker and other principal members of the Kogi State House of Assembly and since then, the five legislators have carried on with the business of the assembly.

It will be further recalled that all attempts of the National Assembly to take over the legislative duties of the Kogi State House of Assembly on constitutional grounds have been rebuffed by the five-man group.
By the reliefs sought in this suit, the court is urged to reverse the change of leadership of the assembly.