Edo Crisis: Court Orders Parties To Maintain Status Quo


The Federal High Court Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered parties in a suit regarding the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly to stay all actions pending the conclusion of the case.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who gave the order, held that the parties should maintain status quo ante bellum ( “the state existing before the war”), however adjourned the hearing of the substantive suit until Aug. 22.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Edo State House of Assembly and its Speaker, Mr Francis Okiye, had instituted a suit stopping the National Assembly from taking over the state assembly’s functions.

In an originating summon and a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/815/2019, the plaintiffs, on July 23, asked the court to restrain the National Assembly from going ahead with its plans pending the hearing on the matter.

The matter, which was brought before Justice Nkeonye Maha, was adjourned to July 31 for hearing since the parties were yet to be served.

However, Counsel to the plaintiffs, Barrister Ola Olanipekun, SAN, told the court that after the defendants had been properly served as ordered by the court, the Senate on July 30, still went ahead to pass a resolution for the takeover of the assembly if the governor fails to comply with its resolution.

The respondents in the case are the Clerk of the National Assembly and the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The matter was, however, adjourned until Aug. 7 for hearing.

Justice Taiwo, on Tuesday, said the order was intended to prevent parties, particularly the respondents from foisting on the court a fait accompli.

”The order was informed by the apprehension expressed by lawyer to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, who said there were threats by the respondents to tamper with the subject of the dispute,” he said.

Taiwo, who refused to hear the plaintiff’s motion for interlocutory injunctions, chose to hear the substantive suit and granted accelerated hearing.

He ordered the respondents to file their responses to the main suit within seven days and for the plaintiffs to file their reply within five days.

NAN reports that the state’s 7th assembly was inaugurated in a controversial circumstances on June 17 when nine out of 24 members-elect during inauguration elected Mr Okiye as the speaker at past 9p.m.

However, besides the House of Representatives that threatened to take over the assembly should Governor Godwin Obaseki fail to issue a fresh proclamation for the assembly’s inauguration recently, the Senate also passed a resolution giving the governor a week to issue the proclamation letter or risk the takeover of the state’s legislature.

The one-week ultimatum had since elapsed. (NAN)