High court nullifies suspension of 5 Imo lawmakers

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A High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo state capital has set aside
the suspension of five members of the state House of Assembly
declaring the action of the state legislature as null, void and of no
effect.

Delivering judgment yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Goddy
Anunihu , declared the processes leading to the indefinite suspension
of the five lawmakers as an act of “putting the horse before the cat.”

The judge awarded N8million as cost against the three defendants- the
Imo State House of Assembly, the Speaker, Hon. Acho Ihim and the state
governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

Justice Anunihu who flayed the Rescue Mission lawmakers for acting
contrary to the law, when they are lawmakers and faulted the setting
up of an investigation team to look into the allegations against the
their colleagues without following due process.

He explained that based on the evidence before him, the said panel was
set up even before the “purported indefinite suspension” .

The embattled reinstated lawmakers: Hon. Chiji Collins, Israel
Nnataraoye, Nkenna Nzerue,Uche Oguwuike and Donatus Onuigwe
representing Isiala Mbano, Mbaitoli, Ikeduru, Oru East and Oru West
state constituencies respectively had filed the suit challenging their
purported suspension by their colleagues.

It would be recalled that the lawmakers were in July this year
suspended by their colleagues over allegations tagged “un
parliamentary conducts” by the Speaker and his cohorts.

One of the reinstated lawmakers, Nnataraonye, who spoke to newsmen on
the phone shortly after the court verdict said, “I am in my office
now. I have moved in and resumed duties immediately. This is victory
for democracy and it shows that our judicial system is a place of
justice. ”
The suspension of the lawmakers, it was then said, was not unconnected
with the plot to impeach the Deputy Governor of the state, Prince Eze
Madumere who suffered similar irregular removal from office by the
purported impeachment slammed on him by the pro-Okorocha lawmakers

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