The House of Representatives in Nigeria says it will stay action on issues concerning the defection of some members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) until all cases in court over the matter had been concluded.
The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Representative Victor Ogene told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that several precedents had been set before the recent judgements.
“The house is therefore not in a hurry to act. The speaker of the house is not under any pressure to declare the seats of any of its members vacant,” Ogene said.
Several PDP lawmakers had defected to the APC after a controversy in the ruling party led to the defection of five of its governors in last quarter of 2013.
The house went into an executive session on Wednesday to iron out issues raging in the house one of which Representative Ogene explained was the growing tendency of partisanship that may begin to ariseduring plenary sessions.
A Federal High Court had on Monday in Abuja, asked 37 lawmakers who defected from the PDP to the APC, to resign their positions as members of the National Assembly.
It also granted a perpetual injunction restraining the defecting lawmakers from effecting any leadership change in the lower House.
But the All Progressives Congress caucus in the House of Representatives said “none of their 37 members that defected from the ruling People’s Democratic Party shall vacate their seats nor cease to take part in major decisions in the house”.
The Minority Whip of the House, Samson Osagie, told reporters that Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who delivered the judgement, was merely expressing an opinion over a matter that was not before him.
The House of Representatives says it is too hasty to conclude that President Goodluck Jonathan has breached the 1999 Constitution by not transmitting copies of the proclamation of a state of emergency to the National Assembly.
The deputy chairman of the House Committee on Media, Mr. Victor Ogene, in a meeting with journalists on Thursday, says the House is yet to receive any communication from the President on the matter.
The President had on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States in a bid to check the state of insecurity in the states.
Section 305 of the Constitution states that the President shall immediately after the publication, transmit copies of the official gazette of the government of the federation, containing the proclamation including the details of the emergency to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Section further stipulates that the letter should reach the lawmakers within two days when the National Assembly is in session.
Mr. Ogene noted that this particular state of emergency, which retains the democratic structures in the affected states, is a result of the cooperation between the Presidency and National Assembly.
The House of Representatives is set to investigate the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke over allegation of suspicious oil deals worth N59 trillion.
Speaking on a matter of public importance, member Representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in Anambra State, Representative Victor Ogene accused the minister of impropriety and abuse of due process in the transaction leading to the sale of seven oil mining leases.
The matter was brought to the house following a petition by group from oil producing communities in Delta, who alleged that there was a deliberate exclusion of indigenious operators from the exercise.
Last week, members of oil producing communities in Delta state stormed the National Assembly to demand better control of the resources in their community.
They also protested what they described as the fraudulent allocation of oil mining leases.
During the protest last week, federal lawmakers from the senate addressed them and promised to take necessary action.
However, the matter was brought before the House of Representatives and they plan to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the allegation.
The House has asked members of the public to submit necessary documents to the committee, which has four weeks to conclude the investigations