There was pandemonium on Tuesday at the Plateau State House of Assembly as police fired teargas at the 16 Peoples Democratic Party sacked by the Court of Appeal in November. They had attempted to resume legislative duties on Tuesday.
The sacked PDP Assembly members led by Ishaku Maren, stormed the Assembly with their supporters, but the police prevented them from gaining access into the chamber, firing teargas at them.
The court had sacked the lawmakers on the grounds that the PDP had no structure and could not field candidates for the 2023 elections in Plateau.
The court thereafter declared the 16 All Progressives Congress members who came second in the elections as winners.
Although the former lawmakers kicked against the development, their protest regained momentum after the Supreme Court overruled the Appeal Court which sacked Governor Caleb Mutfwang.
In its judgment on January 12, the apex court held that the lower court erred in nullifying the governor’s election.
Whereas the case of the former lawmakers could not be heard at the Supreme Court, the PDP legislators had said the apex court ruling was binding on them.
Rt. Hon. Gabriel Dewan, Speaker Plateau House of Assembly, had also said following the Supreme Court Judgement affirming the election of Mutfwang, the State Assembly had only eight lawmakers that he recognises.
The speaker said the judgement of the apex court had overturned the earlier position of the Appeal Court.
“As it stands now, only eight lawmakers are recognised as members of state the assembly,” he had said in Jos, the state capital.
He said 16 lawmakers the lower court affirmed would not be recognised until the interpretation of the Supreme Court judgement, which ruled that the actions and judgement of the Appeal Court were faulty and an abuse of court processes.
On Monday, Maren, who was the majority leader of the assembly before the Appeal Court judgment, had said the judgment which validated the election of Governor Mutfwang, was an indication that they were still the authentic members of the house, adding that they were only on recess.
He said “It was even in the words of the Supreme Court that the Appeal Court judgment was a miscarriage of justice. I want to also state that even in law, it says that if there is an injury, there will certainly be a remedy.
“Our constituents are willing and ready to accompany us to the assembly tomorrow because they voted for us, and they are not ready to compromise that.”