In the case of Hon. Aluzu Ebikebuna Augustine, (member LAWSAN House of Assembly representing Constituency III) v The Speaker House of Assembly, praying the Court to quash the unilateral decision of the House Committee of Ethics and Privileges declaring his seat vacant without recourse to the law and adherence to the doctrine of fair hearing.
The Court today, 13/5/2016 sat to hear the substantive suit. Hon. Aluzu, the plaintiff was represented by a Senior Advocate of LAWSAN, Rt. Hon. Dignity Ekop (SAL), who appeared with Aganin Uchewaji.
|L-R, Aganin Uchewaji and Dignity Ekop (SAL)|
In the address to the Court, and as contained in the Originating Summons served the defendants, two issues were put up for determination.
(1) Whether the purported declaration of the seat of the plaintiff vacant based on section 17(d) and section 21(1) of the LAWSAN Constitution, 2012. And it's purported report of the LAWSAN House Committee on Ethics and Privileges as contained in the notice dated 7th March 2016, signed by the Clerk of the LAWSAN House of Assembly has any force of law whatsoever.
(2) Whether the absence of fair hearing by the LAWSAN House Committee of Ethics and Privileges vitiates the probative value of the report of the committee.
The Plaintiff also sought two reliefs:
(1) A declaration that the notice of the purported declaration of the seat of the Plaintiff by the LAWSAN House of Assembly is illegal and unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
(2) A declaration that the Plaintiff remains a member of the you of Assembly.
Nsinyene Charles, J., after listening to the submission of Dignity Ekop (SAL) granted that:
The right to be heard is a fundamental right of every citizen,and since the defendants was not in court or his Lawyers, he extended time to avail the defendant the opportunity to enter his defence and appear in court at the next court sitting.
|His Lordship, Justice Nsinyene Charles (Chief Judge LAWSAN High Court)|
The ratio was also applied in the case of Nango Nango Douglas v Uwana Akpan, Ubokolo v The Speaker, LAWSAN House of Assembly.
The case was adjourned to the 18th of May 2016 for further hearing.
Present at the case were:
(1) A.G - Joseph Onanaro
(2) Uwemedimo Dominic alias Deity (The Leader, LAWSAN House of Assembly)
(3) Rt. Hon. Utibeima Ibanga (Senior Member, LAWSAN House of Assembly)
(4) S.A on Legislative matters (Abasido Usoro)
|Dignity Tom and Abasido Usoro|
(5) Chief of Staff to the President (Mr. Dignity Tom)
(6) S.A on mobilization (Emediong Essien)
(7) Ndianabasi Ekong (ASG of LAWSAN)
(8) Hon. Ofiokobong Adede (Chairman, House Committee of Ethics and Privileges)
(9) Gideon Ebong (Class Governor, Constituency II)