BY OBUTE JAMES
The legal practitioners under the aegis of Concerned Legal Practitioners of Ado/Ogbadibo/Okpokwu Federal Constituency of Benue State on Thursday matched to National Assembly to demand for the immediate swearing-in of Christian Adaba Abah as the representative of their constituency in compliance of Appeal Court judgment.
The lawyers said they are surprised that after the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja ordered for the swearing-in of Abah on February 8th this year, the leadership of the House of Representative under Hon. Yakubu Dogara has not considered it necessary to swear-in Abah.
The lawyers also said they have written to the Speaker, Dogara three time over the Appeal Court judgment but there was no response from him.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja division on February 8, sacked a House of Representatives member, Hon Anthony Hassan Saleh from Benue State. Hassan did not participate in 2015 general election but was sworn-in based on a Federal High Court judgment.
The court made the pronouncement after setting aside the judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja that brought him to office.
The Appellate Court ordered that Hon Christian Abah be allowed to replace him on the ground that the allegation of certificate forgery upon which he was barred by the Federal High Court from being inaugurated has never been proved beyond reasonable doubt as demanded by law.
Hassan Saleh had challenged the eligibility of Christian Abah to stand for the election because he forged an Ordinary National Diploma in Accountancy, purportedly obtained from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, in 1985.
Abah was the unopposed candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the election in the April 11, 2015 election.
The Appellate Court held that the judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola was pervasive because the ingredients of criminality in the allegations against Abah was not proved, let alone beyond reasonable doubt.
The Appeal Court judgment delivered by Justice Tani Yusuf Hassan, held that the allegation of certificate forgery brought against Hon Abah ought to have been proved before an order withdrawing the certificate of return issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Hassan also held that the Federal High Court was wrong in its order that INEC should issue a new certificate of return to Hon. Hassan Saleh when the allegation made by Hassan Saleh against his opponent has not been proved.
The court therefore upheld the certificate of return earlier issued to Christian Abah by INEC and ordered him to be inaugurated as a member of House of Representatives from Benue State.
The entire constituents of Hassan went into jubilation on hearing that he has been sacked by the Appeal Court. Hasan Saleh did not contest the general election but was sworn-in based on the judgment of Federal High court, the court of first instance on the matter. Abah on the other hand was elected during the parliamentary election in 2015 to represent Ogbadibo/Okpokwu/Ado Federal Constituency of Benue State in National Assembly.