From Angela Nkwo-Akpolu, Owerri
Almost five months after five Imo lawmakers were suspended by the State House of Assembly, an Owerri high court yesterday voided their indefinite suspension saying it amounted to “putting the horse before the cart”.
Justice Gordy Anunihu made the declaration in the suit filed by the lawmakers hitherto suspended by their colleagues.
The suspended lawmakers are Chiiji Collins representing Isiala Mbano State constituency; Isreal Nnataraoye representing Mbaitoli State constituency; ,Ikenna Nzerue representing Ikeduru constituency; Uche Oguwuike for Oru East; and Donatus Onuigwe for Oru West state constituency.
While the defendants were the Imo state House of Assembly; the speaker; Acho Ihim; and Rochas Okorocha.
The lawmakers were considered sympathetic to the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere and were suspended before impeachment proceedings commenced against the deputy governor.
The number two man has since been reinstated by the Court that voided his purported impeachment.
The lawmakers were in July suspended by their colleagues for what the Speaker described as “un-parliamentary conducts.”
Yesterday, Justice Anunihu in his landmark judgement lambasted the State legislature for breaking the law by setting up an investigation team to look into the allegations levelled against the lawmakers.
Justice Anunihu said that based on the evidence before the court, the panel was set up even before the “purported indefinite suspension”.
The Judge awarded N8million in favour of the lawmakers as cost against the three defendants
One of the reinstated lawmakers, Hon Ifeanyi Nnataraonye while speaking with The AUTHORITY, commended the court verdict, adding that already in respect to the verdict has already resumed in his office.
He said ” I am very happy and am in my office now. I have moved in and resumed duties immediately. This is victory for democracy and it shows that our judicial system is a place of justice”.