A’Court sacks Bayelsa Assembly member over defection

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THE Court of Appeal sitting in Rivers State, yesterday, sacked the member representing Brass constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Daniel Charles, over his defection from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

APC had dragged Charles to court, praying for his sack after he defected from the party to the PDP but he won the case at the Federal High Court, Bayelsa, in a judgment by Justice Isa Dashen, prompting the APC to proceed to the Appeal Court.

But the Justices of the Court of Appeal, Joseph Ikyegh, Gabriel Kolawole and Olabode Adegbehingbe, set side the decision of the lower court delivered on January 11, on the legality of his defection.

The appellate court held that upon his defection from the APC being the platform on which he was elected, Charles should have vacated his seat at the state House of Assembly since April 14, 2021, by virtue of section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Respondents in the suit were Charles, Speaker of Bayelsa House of Assembly, Abraham Ngobere and the state House of Assembly.

The appellate court added that the Speaker and the state House of Assembly were under constitutional and legal duties by the virtue of section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeri,1999, to declare the seat of Charles, as member representing Brass Constituency 1 at the Bayelsa House of Assembly, vacant.

The court also declared the seat vacant and directed that Charles should, with immediate effect, return all salaries, allowances and other emoluments, received from April 14, 2021, as member representing the Brass constituency 1 of the state House of Assembly.

It also ordered that the three respondents pay the cost of N250,000 each to the APC.

Reacting to the ruling, Charles, described the ruling as “unfortunate, considering his inalienable right to freedom of association.”

He said he was confident that the Supreme Court would give a favourable judgment and ratify his mandate and enjoined his supporters and the entire constituency to remain calm and hopeful as he plans to appeal the verdict in the coming days.

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