The member representing Abakaliki North constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Franca Okpo, has described as illegal the sacking of Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers by the state assembly.
According to her, the house lacked the powers to declare her seat and two others vacant.
She noted that with Justice Inyang Ekwo’s judgment sacking the 16 lawmakers who defected to the All Progressives Congress, it was worrisome that they still paraded themselves as members of the House.
Okpo stated this in a statement she signed and made available to journalists, in Abakaliki, on Thursday.
The statement read, “My attention has been drawn to an online publication by the sacked members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, purporting that I, Hon. Mrs Franca Okpo, Hon. Victor Aleke and Hon Okechukwu Ali resigned our positions and as a result, our seats were declared vacant.
“It is no longer news that the Federal High Court Abuja on the 8th day of March sacked 16 members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly including the erstwhile Speaker, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, a judgement of which the erstwhile Speaker in his live broadcast together with the other sacked members claimed to have accepted in good faith, not like they had another option though.
“You may wish to recall that the former Speaker also stated that they have applied for a stay of execution. And up till now, no stay of execution has been granted by any competent court.
“It is therefore surprising to hear that the duly sacked members of the house illegally and declared the seats of authentic members of the House vacant.
“I urge you all to remain calm as any action allegedly done by them is not only invalid ab initio as neither of them possesses the power to do so, but also amounts to contempt of court and forgery and won’t be taken likely.
“For now, the sacked members are no longer members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly until stated otherwise by a competent court of law.”