The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Monday sacked four more lawmakers who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The speaker, Onofiok Luke, announced their sack during plenary, according to a statement from the spokesperson of the speaker, Kufre Okon.
The affected lawmakers are Nse Ntuen, who represented Essien Udim State Constituency; Otobong Ndem, Mkpat Enin State Constituency; Victor Udofia, Ikono State Constituency; Gabriel Toby, Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency.
The assembly presided by the speaker, Onofiok Luke, brushed aside a protest by the APC youth at the assembly complex, to hold its sitting.
The youth were protesting the earlier sacking of the lawmaker who represented Itu State Constituency, Idongesit Ituen, for defecting from PDP to APC.
Unlike the removal of Mr Ituen which followed a federal high court judgment, there is no court ruling or judgment yet on the other four lawmakers.
The speaker’s spokesperson, Mr Okon, said in the statement that the speaker’s action was in line with Section 109, sub-section 1g, of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
The PDP in the state, meanwhile, has thrown its weight behind the leadership of the state assembly for declaring the lawmakers’ seats vacant.
“As a law-abiding Party, we commend the Speaker for respecting the constitution without fear or favour,” the PDP spokesperson in the state, Ini Ememobong, said in a statement on Monday.
“In our state, this scenario is not nouveau, as the seats of the assemblymen who defected to APC in 2014, had been declared vacant.
“The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has always been a very law-abiding institution and therefore under the current Speakership of Comrade Onofiok Luke, it cannot afford to dwell in illegality.
“We advise the opposition in the state to come to the realization that our state and nation operate under the rule of law and abhors the rule of might. We can assure them that as this evil plot failed, today, so shall their planned ‘federal might’ backed Warsaw invasion fail,” Mr Ememobong said.
In an interview, Mr Ememobong said further, “They went to court to prevent an act which the constitution empowers the speaker to do. The speaker simply invokes the provision of Section 109, sub-section 1g.
“There is no court that can prevent an act which the constitution empowers you to do.”