Lawyer and activist Dr. Kayode Ajulo on Sunday said that the House of Representatives lacks the power to shut down of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The House of Representatives had last Wednesday directed security agencies to “shut down the Edo State House of Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by Members-elect.”
However, Ajulo, who is former National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), said the House of Representatives was trying to take unilateral action on behalf of the entire National Assembly without the joint or concurrent nod of the Senate.
“Assuming but without conceding that the National Assembly has the powers to give such directives, the law provides for a joint sitting of the ‘the National Assembly’, not solely the Senate nor the House of Representative, as provided by Section 11 of the Constitution; and the required quorum shall be one-third of all the members of both Houses pursuant to section 54(2) of the Constitution,” Ajulo stated.
The lawyer also condemned the directive to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki to issue a fresh directive for the inauguration of the Edo House of Assembly. He said the nine members present when Obaseki inaugurated the state assembly formed a quorum.
“It is pertinent to note that, pursuant to Section 96 of the Constitution, the nine members of the Edo State House of Assembly validly constituted the one-third quorum required for the sitting of the House and, as such, the National Assembly is precluded from making laws for the State as provided by section 11(5) of the Constitution.”
Ajulo noted that the validity or otherwise of the Edo Assembly is left for the courts to determine and not the House of Representatives.
“The validity of the proclamation made by the Governor Obaseki pursuant to section 105(3) of the Constitution and the Inauguration of the 8th Assembly is left for the court of law to determine.
“The directives of the House of Representatives only amount to placing the cart before the horse. There is no gainsaying that the House of Representative by its directive is assuming the role of the judiciary, which is against the cardinal principle of separation of power.
“It should be noted that Nigeria is not a banana republic but a democratic society where the rule of law must take its full course,” Ajulo said.
By Chukwudi Nweje