A Non-Governmental Organisation, One Love Family and Caring Association, has asked a Benin High Court to order the 24 lawmakers in the Edo State House of Assembly to refund to the coffers of the state government all financial benefits they may have received from the State Accountant-General and Commissioner of Finance from the day they abandoned their constitutional duties.
The Chairman of the group, Chief Patrick Eholor, in a suit dated July 4, 2014 with NO: B/375/14, filed through his counsel, T.A Akahomen Esq., alleged that the Speaker of the House, Uyi Igbe, and 23 others, being 1st to 24th defendants, had refused to hold plenary and perform their legislative duties since June 9, 2014.
Eholor prayed the court to instruct the State Accountant-General and Commissioner of Finance, being the 27th and 28th defendants, to provide the financial record of the refunds made by the legislators to the assembly clerk for court record and publication of same in two national dailies for record purpose.
He also asked the court to compel the 27th and 28th defendants to put on hold, any financial benefit or entitlement, including constituency allowances, due to the 1st to 24th defendants, pending their resumption of duty as members of State Assembly.
The claimant, while requesting an order to the effect that the alleged sitting for legislative matters by some of the lawmakers at the Edo state Government House on July 2, 2014 or other such sittings contravened the principles of separation of power in the 1999 constitution, described their display of disunity in public as “unwholesome and unbecoming.”
Edolor added that the legislators’ actions had halted the socioeconomic lives of the people and the other arms of government, in the area of checks and balances.
He argued that it was wrong for the lawmakers to enjoy any benefits or privileges, including services of their cars, while off duty.
He said, “Public funds are meant to service statutory services and duties. The 1st to 24th defendants have no justification whatsoever to continue to enjoy any financial benefit of their offices.
“Nigerians who are resident in Edo state ought to enjoy the services of the 1st to 24th respondents because they came to their offices by virtue of the votes cast by Edo people, for whom they subscribed on oath.”
The Edo State House of Assembly has been rocked by crisis since June 9, following the suspension of four of its members on a ground misconduct.
The two factions in the House led by the Speaker, Uyi Igbe, on the one hand, and impeached Deputy Speaker, Festus Ebea on the other hand, had on Friday bickered over ongoing repairs in the Assembly Complex.