Following the sack of 20 lawmakers in the Cross River state house of Assembly, the state government has filed an appeal against the federal high court judgment.

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The 20 lawmakers were sacked by a federal high court sitting in Abuja for defecting to the All Progressive Congress, (APC). The suit was instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The judgment in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 was delivered on Monday.

Ruling on the case, Taiwo Taiwo, the judge, held that the lawmakers should vacate their seats, having abandoned the political party that sponsored them to power.

The affected lawmakers are Michael Etaba (house of representatives), Legor Idagbor (house of representatives), Eteng Jonah William, Joseph A. Bassey, Odey Peter Agbe, Okon E. Ephraim, Regina L. Anyogo, Matthew S. Olory, Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, Ogbor Ogbor Udop and Ekpe Charles Okon.

Others are Hillary Ekpang Bisong, Francis B. Asuquo, Elvert Ayambem, Davis Etta, Sunday U. Achunekan, Cynthia Nkasi, Edward Ajang, Chris Nja-Mbu Ogar and Maria Akwaji.

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In a statement on Tuesday, Christian Ita, special adviser on media and publicity to the governor, asked the affected lawmakers to go about their duties, adding that the judgment has been appealed and an application has been filed for stay of execution.

Christian Ita said; “This is to inform APC members of the national assembly from Cross River state, members of the Cross River state house of assembly and the general public that an appeal against the judgement of the federal high court, Abuja has been filed at the court of appeal, Abuja,”

“Also, a motion for a stay of execution of the federal high court has been filed.

“Both processes were filed by renowned constitutional lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), chief Mike Ozekhome.

“Following the filing of the two processes, automatically the orders of the lower court are stayed.

“Consequently, the APC members in both the national assembly and the Cross River state house of assembly should go about their duties freely.”

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In the application for stay of execution, Ozekhome noted that “the notice and grounds of appeal raise serious, arguable and recondite points of law before the appellate court with a great chance of success at the hearing of the appeal”.

“The honourable court has the power and jurisdiction to grant the instant application to preserve the res or subject matter of the pending appeal,” he said.

He prayed the court to grant the application in the interest of justice.

Meanwhile, different units of the Nigeria Police Force have blocked all entrances into the Cross River State House of Assembly.

They have also turned back staff members of the Assembly. They were cautioned not to loiter around.

The different units included the anti-kidnapping and cultism squad and the regular policemen, armed to the teeth.

They have also occupied the Assembly’s premises.

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