The All Progressives Congress on Thursday threatened legal action against the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, and the sacked lawmaker representing Brass Constituency 1, Daniel Charles, over alleged contempt of court.
Also in trouble for the same alleged offence is the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, following non-compliance with the sacking of Charles by the Court of Appeal.
Ingobere and Charles risk jail term for not abiding by the order of the court, which sacked the latter with immediate effect.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, had on July 14, 2022, in a unanimous decision by Justices Joseph Shagbaor Ikeyegh, Gabriel Omoniyi Kolawole and Olabode Adegbehingbe, in suit number CA/PH/79/2022, ruled that there was merit in the appeal filed by the APC, which sought the removal of Charles as a member of the House for defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party from APC on whose platform he won the election to the Assembly.
The court, which hinged its decision on Section 109 (1) (g) and (2) of the Constitution, ordered the speaker under constitutional duties to declare Charles’s seat vacant and directed Charles to return all monies and allowances he had collected since April 14, 2021.
Counsel to APC, Mr Tuduru Ede, who expressed dismay that Charles was still being allowed to participate in the legislature’s deliberation, said that INEC, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Ingobere and Charles were all in contempt of the court’s ruling.
He insisted that the appeal court made a declaratory judgment, saying the implication of allowing Charles to remain in the House is that all motions and decisions made by the House are null and void.
Ede said, “The Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, INEC, and the House of Assembly as an institution, and Hon. Dr Charles Daniel, are in contempt of Court by their actions for allowing Hon. Charles to be part of the House.
“The Court of Appeal has sacked him and INEC should have conducted an election into the vacant seat.
“Hon. Charles is no longer a member of the House and he should have returned all the monies he collected since April 2021. He risks going to jail for showing contempt to the order of the Court. This is part of the impunity we are talking about.
“The implication of what the House of Assembly has done is that by allowing Dr Daniel who has been sacked in the eyes of the law since April 2021 to be part of its deliberation means all their actions, motions are null and void. By allowing him to be part of any deliberation means all what they are doing is nullity.”
When contacted, Charles said he would need to speak with his lawyer before responding.