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Court dismisses suit against Fayose by 19 APC lawmakers

Governor Ayo Fayose
Governor Ayo Fayose

A Federal High Court in Lagos, Thursday, struck out a suit filed against the Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose along with 13 other defendants by the 19 All Progressives Congress members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

In dismissing the suit, Justice Saliu Saidu also awarded a cost in the sum of N100,000 against the 19 APC lawmakers in favour of the respondents.

The decision to strike out the suit, Thursday, followed an application by the plaintiffs, dated April 7, 2015, to discontinue the case.

The lawmakers had filed the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1823/14 last year December to challenge the impeachment of Adewale Omirin and Adetunji Orisalade as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Ekiti State Assembly respectively.

Omirin and Orisalade were impeached on November 20, 2014 by seven members of the House belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Other respondents in the suit are the incumbent Speaker of the Ekiti Assemby, Dele Olugbemi, his deputy, Olayinka Abeni, the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State and the Department of State Service.

Others include; the three commissioners cleared for appointment under the new leadership of the Ekiti Assembly as well as the five other PDP lawmakers in the House.

The case had made little or no progress since December 10, 2014 when Saidu declined to grant the APC lawmakers an interim injunction restraining the House under Olugbemi, from further carrying on with legislative functions.

Canvassing argument in favour of the application at the Thursday’s proceedings, lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mr. Onyeka Ofoegbu, urged the court to strike the suit out as prayed by the plaintiffs.

But a lawyer from the defence, Mr. Kayode Olufale, argued that since the respondents had already joined issues with the plaintiffs, the proper thing for the court to do was to dismiss rather than strike out the suit.

If a suit is dismissed rather than struck out by the court, it could no longer be filed or re-presented at a future time.

Olufale urged the court not to only dismiss the suit but to also award a substantial cost against the plaintiffs in favour of the respondents.

Saidu, in a bench ruling, upheld the argument of the plaintiffs’ lawyer to strike out the suit, he however awarded cost in the sum of N100,000 against the APC lawmakers.

The judge said though he ought to dismiss the case since the respondents have joined issues with the plaintiffs, he would however use his discretion and strike the case out.

“I have gone through the notice of discountenance and objection filed by the defendants urging the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ suit. The defendants have taken steps in this case by the processes they have filed and this case ought to be dismissed not struck out.

“(However) in this present democratic setting in this country, I am cautioned to take the path of striking out the case rather than dismissal. I hereby strike out this case with cost of N100,000 against the plaintiffs in favour of the first to eight, and twelve to fourteen defendants in this case,” Saidu held.

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