The Edo State House of Assembly and the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Francis Okiye, have obtained an order of substituted service on members-elect to halt the unlawful take over of the Anthony Enahoro Assembly Complex and the House’s legislative activities.
The order was given following the suit filed by Okiye and the House; FHC/PH/CS/100/2020, at the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, seeking to restrain the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police and the 14 members-elect from proceeding to unlawfully take control of the legislative activities of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice I. M. Sani, granted the substituted service of the originating summons and accompanying processes “with all other processes in this suit on the 4th and 18th defendants through the 18th defendant, Hon. Emmanuel Agbaje, by pasting on the wall of the Apartment 12, State House of Assembly Legislative Quarters, Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City, being the official residence of Emmanuel Agbaje, the 18th Defendant in this suit, or alternatively by service on an Adult in the National Headquarters of All Progressives Congress (APC), 40, Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
He also ruled that the plaintiffs/applicants shall publish all the relevant processes filed in the suit in two (2) National Newspapers within 72 hours.
The applicants had sought for an order of interim injunction restraining “the 2nd and 3rd defendants from taking any further steps or from continuing to take any further steps by themselves or through their subordinate officers or personnel to implement the advisory or direction or instruction contained in the letter dated 3/03/2020 from the 1st to the 2nd defendant and dated 5/08/2020 from the 2nd to the 3rd defendant pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory injunction.”
They also sought, among others, an “order of interim injunction restraining the 4th to 18th defendants and each of them from acting or purporting to act or from parading themselves as members of the Edo State House of Assembly or as Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly and from taking any steps whatsoever to unlawfully take control of the legislative activities of the Edo State House of Assembly (2nd Plaintiff), pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory injunction.”
Recall that members-elect whose seats were declared vacant in December, 2019, had attempted a take over of the Assembly Complex, but met a brick wall as the Assembly Complex was being renovated, even as concerned citizens thronged to the premises to resist the move.