Appeal Court-backed APC lawmakers absent at resumption of PSHA plenary

*Speaker, Plateau State house of assembly, Mr Gabriel Dewan.

Sixteen members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who benefitted from the Court of Appeal judgment sacking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers of the Plateau State house of assembly failed to turn up at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday (yesterday).

However, the 16 PDP members showed up at the Rayfield Old Government House in Jos alongside their supporters preparatory for the resumption of plenary.

Their appearance was short-lived as a contingent of armed policemen stationed in the assembly complex prevented them from accessing the assembly chambers by firing tear gas at them.

Recall that the PDP lawmakers had on Monday declared that they would attend yesterday’s session despite their sacking by the Court of Appeal.

They argued that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which sacked them, had been overtaken by last Friday’s judgment of the Supreme Court, which restored the state governor, Mr Caleb Muftwang, who was similarly sacked by the Court of Appeal.

Addressing journalists yesterday, the speaker of the Assembly who is the only Young Progressives Party (YPP) of the assembly, Mr Gabriel Dewan, said the lawmakers would continue to cooperate with the state governor and President Bola Tinubu.

“As you will recall, on November 22, 2023, the Plateau State House of Assembly went on recess and adjourned to resume on January 23, 2024. And today, as you can see, we are back to resume our legislative duties officially. I pray God Almighty will take control within the New Year and we are ready to give the government of President Bola Tinubu and the Executive Governor of Plateau State all the needed legislative support,” he said.

On the fate of the PDP lawmakers, the speaker said already 32 persons had laid claim to the 16 vacant seats.

He said as a lawmaker, the law would take its course.

“I’m not a law interpreter. For now, we are lawmakers but I’m in receipt of a court process regarding the issue. At the moment, we have 16 vacancies at the state House of Assembly and there are court processes over this. As I’m talking to you, we have 32 members claiming the 16 vacancies in the Assembly.

“And as I said, we are lawmakers and not law interpreters. So, we will allow the institution saddled with the responsibility of interpretation to interpret the law. So, in due course, we will feed the public with the next line of action; but for now, we have only eight House of Assembly members until the determination of the court process.”

Meanwhile, Punch quoted the spokesman for the APC in the state, Mr Sylvanus Namang as explain that party’s lawmakers-designate stayed away from the house of assembly to avoid anarchy.

“We are not under any impression that our 16 members who have their certificates of return will attend any plenary today Tuesday. As a law-abiding party, we know that it is only the eight recognised members that were supposed to sit today. Then after that, they will admit our 16 members who have their certificates of return.

“So, the 16 sacked PDP members invading the House today (yesterday) is very unnecessary and unfortunate. They are only resorting to self-help and overheating the system and this will be more injurious to the PDP government in Plateau State.

“I think this rascality has to stop because the desperation will not take us anywhere. We are law-abiding citizens and nobody owns the state more than any other,” he said.