Law News
Ekiti: Lawyers call for National Assembly intervention
Mr. Tayo Oyetibo

A cross section of legal experts has called on the National Assembly and the Attorney General of the Federation to intervene in the crisis rocking the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

Seven Peoples Democratic Party members of the 26-member assembly had reportedly, along with three unidentified persons, formed a parallel assembly in November, appointing Dele Olugbemi as its protem Speaker.

The remaining 19 All Progressives Congress members, a few weeks later, formed themselves into another assembly at a secret location, suspending Olugbemi and the six lawmakers loyal to Governor Ayodele Fayose.

In separate interviews with SUNDAY PUNCH, the constitutional lawyers described the parallel assemblies as unlawful.

An expert in constitutional law, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, said under the Nigerian constitution, there can’t be two houses of assembly in one state.

“Proceedings outside the hallowed chambers of the House are not deemed to be proceedings of the House. I think the two warring factions should place the interest of the people above their personal and parochial interests and resolve their differences,” Oyetibo said.

Another constitutional lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, also criticised the lawmakers for the division in the House.

According to him, though the APC faction of the assembly held their plenaries with the mace, the sittings were not recognised in the eye of the law.

“I would think that the constitution should be amended to allow for a sitting of the majority, anywhere they are, especially when the minority has made the sitting of the majority impossible in the constitutionally recognised parliament building,” Agbaje noted.

Similarly, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Wahab Shittu, expressed his dissatisfaction over the crisis.

The legal expert listed three options in resolving the crisis in the state legislature. The first option, according to him, is for the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to intervene.

He said, “The AGF, who is supposed to be the chief law officer of the federation, should file an action in the Federal High Court. After filing the action, he should then refer constitutional questions for the determination by the Court of Appeal.”

Another option, according to him, is for the majority to go to court for interpretation of the situation. He added that the third option is for the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions in Ekiti State.

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