An FCT High Court in Bwari has restrained Senate President Bukola Saraki from declaring the seat of former Minority Leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, vacant.
An order, published by Punch newspapers, given by Justice Othman Musa on Wednesday also directed Saraki not to impede Akpabio’s access to the Senate building.
The judge restrained Sarki from taking any action aimed at “overreaching his privileges and rights as a Senator pending the determination of the originating Summons of the applicant.”
A report by Punch newspaper indicated that Justice Musa ordered service of the originating summons and other processes on Saraki through either the Clerk of the National Assembly, Clerk of the Senate or any other Clerk or reasonable staff of the National Assembly at the Assembly complex.
The orders were made after an ex parte application by Akpabio’s lawyers, Chikaosolu Ojukwu and Ebere Ahanonu, seeking to stop alleged moves to declare his seat vacant following his defection from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The suit has been adjourned to August 29 for further hearing.
Following his defection from PDP to APC, there has been rumours that Akpabio’s seat will be declared vacant by the senate president.
Punch Newspaper had quoted an unnamed source as saying arrangements were being made to ensure that Akpabio, and others who defected recently from the PDP to the APC, are removed or face a recall process.
Meanwhile, Saraki in reaction has said that there is no plan to declare the seat of Akpabio or that of any other defecting lawmaker vacant.
At least 15 senators have changed parties in the past month, including Saraki who moved from the APC to the PDP.
Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, told PREMIUM NEWS that the rumour to declare any seat vacant was false.
“All that is mere talk,” he said. “People are making claims when we don’t even know when they’ll reconvene.”
The spokesperson was making reference to the current recess of the National Assembly which was expected to be suspended this week. However, Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, released a joint statement on Tuesday saying there was no date yet for the resumption.
Speaking further on the reports of plans to declare Akpabio’s seat vacant, Mr Olaniyonu said, “There’s a lot to be done and we don’t even have time for all that one.”
He linked the reports to the travails of Saraki who risks losing his seat after the APC asked him to resign or be removed.
He called on the public to ignore such reports saying the leadership of the National Assembly is focused on making the country better.