Thunderstorm In Plateau House Of Assembly

The political crisis in Plateau State took a new turn yesterday.

The House of Assembly Speaker, Gabriel Dewan Kudangbena, insisted he would not recognise the 16 All Progressives Congress (APC) members yet.

The 16 were beneficiaries of the Court of Appeal judgment which erroneously sacked their Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterparts over an intra-party affair.

The APC lawmakers did not turn up yesterday, but their sacked PDP colleagues stormed the House.

They were denied access to plenary following the Yuletide break.

The Speaker said he would not allow any of the 16 lawmakers to resume until there is a clear interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment.

While the ex-PDP lawmakers could not go beyond the Court of Appeal after their sack, Governor Caleb Mutfwang, whose election was also nullified, had it reversed by the Supreme Court.

Relying on the Supreme Court judgment, the 16 former PDP lawmakers threatened to sit, which legal experts said was impossible because they were not parties to the Supreme Court case.

As early as 5 am yesterday, armed policemen were deployed to the Old Government House in Jos, the temporary venue of the House, to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

The Speaker said he was barred by a court order from recognising the 16 APC beneficiaries.

Kudangbena, according to the NAN report, said he had a court order mandating him to recognise only eight members of the Assembly.

According to him, the 16 sacked lawmakers, and the other 16 with certificates of return, were all laying claim to the seats.

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Kudangbena said: “At present, there are 32 members laying claim to the seats.

“Since the 32 members had their certificates of return and are laying claim to their mandates, it would be unlawful to admit them into the chambers.

“For now, only eight members will be sitting. I have a court injunction restraining the House from inaugurating the 16 APC members.

“Yes, they have their certificates of return issued to them by INEC, but they can’t be inaugurated until the final determination or vacation of the injunction.”

The Speaker stressed he would await a court interpretation of the judgments.

He said: “The house is in receipt of judgments from two courts: one from the Court of Appeal and another one from the Supreme Court.

“You know I am a lawmaker; I can’t interpret the law. Therefore, I have to see full interpretations of these judgments before I know what to do.

READ ALSO: Plateau Attacks: Security Agencies Know The Masterminds Governor Mutfwang Reveals

“So, for now, the Plateau State House of Assembly has only eight members whose seats are not in contest, and only the eight members are recognised by my leadership.

“The other 16 members will join us when the law is made clear.”

Leader of the 16 former PDP lawmakers, Ishaku Maren from Bokkos Constituency, agreed with the Speaker on the need for an interpretation by the court.

He said: “We agree with the position of the Speaker. We know the Assembly is law-abiding and has acted under the law.

“And as a group, we are also law abiding; we are calm; we are organised and we accepted the stand of our Speaker.

“We are ready to wait until the judgments are interpreted to give legitimacy to the House.”

APC Publicity Secretary, Sylvanus Namang, said the 16 APC lawmakers were absent because the party advised them to stay away to avoid a clash.

The party hailed security agencies for averting a breakdown of law and order at the resumed sitting.

The sacked PDP lawmakers had trooped to the House with hundreds of their supporters.

However, security agencies prevented them from gaining access.

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Photo Credit: Getty

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