The Ebonyi State House of Assembly declared the seats of three more Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members empty Wednesday, raising the total number of PDP seats declared vacant by the House to six.
Ishielu North, Ali Okechukwu, Franca Okpo (Abakaliki North), and Victor Aleke (Ebonyi West) state seats were affected.
Francis Nwifuru, Speaker of the House, indicated that the decision to declare the seats vacant was based on a letter of resignation reportedly submitted by the three legislators and read out before an extraordinary plenary of the House yesterday.
The motion for the declaration of the three lawmakers’ seats was raised by Chinedu Onah, representing Ohaukwu South, and seconded by Igwe Chukwuma, representing Onicha West.
The Speaker declared the seats of the three legislators empty after the motion was moved and seconded and instructed the Clerk to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the development and the necessity for new elections in the constituencies.
However, the afflicted parliamentarians reacted quickly, urging the people to dismiss the alleged designation of their seats empty.
Aleke said in a statement on behalf of the other two MPs that the 16 dismissed members’ actions amounted to an abuse of the rule of law and contempt of court ruling.
Apart from that, the House stated that the courts could not prevent it from resuming plenary sessions despite the state’s political turmoil.
Arinze Chukwu (APC Ishielu South), Chairman of the House Committee on Information, announced yesterday’s plenary in Abakaliki.
He stated that the House was aware of the March 8, 2022 ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which fired 17 members of the House for defecting from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared their seats empty.
“We have appealed the judgment and until it is determined, we are not barred from holding plenary. No court can, therefore, stop us from sittings and we will continue to serve our people,” he said.