An Ado-Ekiti High Court has reinstated six lawmakers suspended by the Fifth Assembly of the state.

The court also ordered the payment of their salaries and other emoluments.

The suspended lawmakers include Tunji Akinyele ( Oye II), Ekundayo Akinleye (Ijero), Olusanya Aladeyelu (Irepodun- Ifelodun II), Olawale Onigiobi ( Ekiti South West 1),  Ayodele Fajemilehin ( Gbonyin) and Dr. Samuel Omotoso (Oye 1).

In his ruling on Friday, Justice Abiodun Adewodun, declared their suspension null and void, describing the decision of the state Assembly to suspend and also stop the salaries and emoluments of the lawmakers as “egregious, indecorous, unbecoming and clearly out of order.”

The court declared that the Assembly erred in law when a factional meeting of October 11, 2018, suspended some lawmakers and described it as “anomalous, defective, unseemly, out of place, wicked and outright abuse of power.”

The Court also faulted the purported impeachment of the Speaker, Kolawole Oluwawole, and his Deputy Mr. Adesina Animasaun, declaring the purported speakership of Hon Adeniran Ebenezer Alagbada and his team of principal officers as unknown to law and, therefore, non- existent in the history of Ekiti State.

The fifth Assembly had on October 11, 2018, suspended the two impeached principal officers along with 10 others loyal to Fayose for 125 legislative days.

Their removal and suspension were spearheaded by some All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in the Assembly, alongside some aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party members barely five days to the end of the tenure of the immediate past Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Reacting to the judgment, the legal counsel to the six lawmakers, Obafemi Adewale, said that the judgment was not only about Ekiti State House of Assembly but the 36 states Houses of Assembly.

“The judgment is for the House of Assembly as an institution abiding by its own rule. That is the principle that is also applicable to the entire Legislature in Nigeria. The Judge relied on the case of Ovie Omo-Agege. It is about the rule of law. It is about checking impunity. When the judge held that somebody that was made Speaker was never a Speaker in the eye of the law, then it says something about the future of those who occupy such position.

“We started with 12 of them but some of them crawled back to go and beg, but they can now see the virtue of having confidence in the law.”

Also reacting to the judgment on behalf of other lawmakers, Dr. Samuel Omotoso, said it was victory for the rule of law.

He expressed the belief that Governor Kayode Fayemi, being a custodian and a product of the rule of law, would abide and respect the court judgment, pay the outstanding salaries and allowances as ordered by the court without further delay.

He said that the emoluments of all members were statutorily recognised under the rule of law since the position of an elected lawmaker is tenured under the 1999 Constitution as amended and thus cannot be wished away.

He also appreciated the judiciary for standing firm as truly the last hope of the masses.

The former Chairman of the House Committee on Information also commended his five colleagues, describing them as men of integrity, courage  and faithfulness whose unblemished names and records in reliability and loyalty to a worthy cause would go down in history of Ekiti State as a memorable reference.

But one of the principal officers, whose offices were declared a nullity, Mr. Gboyega Aribisogan, faulted the judgment, describing it as a “murder of justice.”

He said the House of Assembly had filed an appeal to seek redress on the judgment, saying: “All what Omotoso and his retinue of ignoramus are saying is just a figment of their imagination. They took the Assembly to court on their suspension. The court ruled that their suspension was illegal; I was also suspended for two years. If theirs was illegal, why would my own, too, not be illegal?

“If they had perpetrated such an illegal act, why are they justifying what the court has said? Does that mean they have also erred by even going ahead to suspend me in the first place? All those ones are just political and judicial gymnastics that will not have any impact on what is happening in the state House of Assembly. We have filed an appeal; we are expecting that the court process will continue.”

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