In a dramatic turn of events, the 16 PDP lawmakers who were previously ousted by the Court of Appeal in November 2023 have declared that the recent judgment of the Supreme Court validates their positions, refuting the basis upon which they were initially dismissed.
Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers in Jos on Monday, January 22, 2024, Hon Ishaku Maren emphasized the significance of the Supreme Court ruling, labeling the Court of Appeal’s decision as a fallacy. He remarked, “The Supreme Court stated that the case brought before the Court of Appeal was fraudulent, questioning the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to entertain the matter.”
Expressing astonishment, Hon Maren revealed that the Court of Appeal Members were planning to resume work at the State Assembly Complex on January 23, 2024. He expressed confidence that their constituents would rally behind them as they returned to their legislative duties.
Critiquing the setup of a single panel at the Court of Appeal that handled numerous appeals from the same state, Hon Maren urged President Tinubu and the heads of the Judiciary to intervene and preserve Plateau’s democracy. He questioned the rationale behind dedicating a panel to handle over 20 cases from a single state, emphasizing that this was unprecedented and unjust.
The lawmakers alleged that there were efforts by the APC members to meet with Governor Caleb Mutfwang, even suggesting a willingness to switch parties. However, they called on Governor Mutfwang to resist any such attempts, vowing to resist pressure from any quarter.
When questioned about the legality of their actions, the lawmakers asserted that the Supreme Court judgment invalidated the Court of Appeal’s decision, emphasizing their right to resume their legislative duties based on the prevailing legal circumstances.
In conclusion, Hon Maren compared the situation to a thwarted burglary attempt, stating, “It’s just like a thief tried to burgle into my room and in the process he was caught and he ran. Should I leave the door open for him to enter? I will go back and occupy my room, and that is what we are going to do tomorrow by the grace of God.”
However in a prompt response, the APC in Plateau State, in a recent press statement issued on the 22nd of January, 2024, by Hon Sylvanus Namang, the APC State Publicity Secretary Plateau State expressed concern over what they describe as a brewing threat to legislative stability in the state. The statement, released from the party’s Kalwa House headquarters, Jos, highlights an alleged plan by 16 members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who were previously dismissed by the Court of Appeal, to forcefully attend the upcoming legislative sitting on January 23.
The APC claims that the sacked PDP members, who addressed the press at an undisclosed location, intend to create confusion of unprecedented proportions. According to their information, the ousted legislators plan to bring constituents along to accompany them, potentially escalating the situation.
The press conference, as reported by the APC, contained threats aimed at the APC members of the House, warning them to stay away from the Plateau State House of Assembly. The PDP members asserted that the Supreme Court’s decision had invalidated the Court of Appeal’s judgment that led to their removal.
Maren Ishaku, spokesperson for the sacked members, alongside 15 others, reportedly advised the governor not to interfere, emphasizing their determination to resist any pressure.
The APC, reacting to these developments, condemned the alleged plans of the sacked PDP members as an assault on democracy and an insurrection against the state. The party emphasized that the Supreme Court’s judgment concerning the governor’s victory is personal to him and doesn’t affect those already removed from office.
The statement clarifies that the Court of Appeal’s judgment, which sacked the 16 PDP State House of Assembly members and others, holds finality, in accordance with Section 246 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The APC urged security agencies to heighten vigilance, ensuring that any illegal acts during the legislative session are appropriately addressed.
As Plateau State grapples with delicate security challenges, the APC called for a commitment to the rule of law and cautioned against actions that could escalate tensions in the state.