Alex Enumah in Abuja
Respite came the way of Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and 56 other lawmakers on Friday as Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja struck out the suit seeking their removal from office because of their defection last year to different political parties other than the one on which they were elected as legislators.
Justice Abang struck out the suit for being incompetent on the grounds that the plaintiff had no locus standi (legal right) to institute the suit.
The Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP) had approached the court with a suit seeking to declare the seat of the affected national lawmakers vacant over their defection to parties in 2018.
Delivering Judgment Friday in the suit filed by LEDAP, Abang held that although the plaintiff had a very good case against the defenfants, however its lack of locus standi in the matter robbed the court of necessary jurisdiction to deal with the main issue.
“I am persuaded to hold that though the plaintiff has a good case, promoting the rule of law, regulating the unlawful defection of legislators amongst others, the plaintiff has no locus standi to institute the suit”, Abang held.
According to Abang, the plaintiff lacked the right to institute the suit because it is not a political party, it is not INEC that monitors and regulates political parties, neither is it a member of the constituencies of the defectors nor a registered political party.
Moreso, the court held that the plaintiff did not place anything before it to show that the constituencies were aware of the suit or that it had a special interest far above that of the general public.
Abang further held that the plaintiff in filing the suit failed to involve necessary parties, such as the political parties of the defectors. Based on the forgoing, Justice Abang said, “I have no jurisdiction to determine the case on its merit because the plaintiff though has a good case but lacks locus standi in the case of the 1st, 2nd, 4th to 58th defenfants, the plaintiff case is incompetent, it is struck out”.