The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday granted the seven pro-Obaseki members of the Edo State House of Assembly an order of substituted service on the 17 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in a legal battle for the control of the assembly.
The seven plaintiffs, in the suit with reference number: FHC/PH/CS/100/2020, are seeking an order to restrain the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu; and the APC legislators from taking over the Assembly complex and its legislative activities.
Justice I. M. Sani granted the substituted service of the originating summons and accompanying processes, with all other processes in the suit on the 4th defendant and the 18th defendant (the Deputy Speaker, Emmanuel Agbaje) through Agbaje, by pasting them on the wall of Apartment 12, Edo House of Assembly Legislative Quarters, Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City, being Agbaje’s official residence.
Alternatively, the court ordered that the service could be on an adult at the national headquarters of APC, No. 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Justice Sani also ordered that the plaintiffs/applicants should publish all the relevant processes filed in the suit in two national newspapers within 72 hours.
The suit followed the August 6 inauguration of the 14 APC members who were initially denied participation in the affairs of the House by the minority members and the executive arm.
But before the APC legislators could access the building, the state government ordered the roof of the complex removed to allow for repairs.
However, counsel to the APC legislators, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), asking him to use his office as the nation’s chief law officer to get police protection for his clients.
Malami acted accordingly and asked the Police Inspector General to protect the 17 men.
The APC lawmakers proceeded to elect Mr. Victor Edoror as Speaker.
Edoror said yesterday that he remained the speaker.
“The act has been completed. Which court order are Okiye and his sponsor, Obaseki, talking about? They should stop deluding themselves,” he said in response to the PDP legislators’ suit.
He added: “During our sitting on August 12, we adjourned till August 18, and by God’s grace, we will continue to sit in Benin with adequate security being provided by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP (Mohammed Adamu), as directed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF)/Minister of Justice (Abubakar Malami, SAN), pending when the security chiefs will chase away Obaseki’s thugs who have taken over the House of Assembly complex.”