The APC Plateau State has vehemently refuted the circulation of fake news on social media platforms regarding the Court of Appeal’s alleged dismissal of the appeal filed by Hon. Yakubu Sanda, Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, and 12 others. These claims are in relation to the controversial judgment of the Plateau State High Court on May 3, 2023, which purportedly restored former Speaker Hon. Nuhu Abok to office despite his non-membership in the House since March 22, 2022.
In a press statement read by Ambassador Haggai Choji Usseni, the APC Vanguard for Good Governance clarified the matter, emphasizing that the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos on May 19, 2023, did not dismiss Hon. Yakubu Sanda’s appeal. Instead, the court postponed the hearing of the Appellants’ Motion Ex-parte due to the presence of the Respondents in court. The court opted to hear the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction, scheduling the hearing for May 25, 2023. Meanwhile, all parties have been directed to maintain the status quo.
Contrary to the misinformation being spread, Hon. Yakubu Sanda remains the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly. Immediately after the High Court’s judgment on May 3, 2023, he filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for stay of Execution and Injunction to prevent the enforcement of the judgment by the Judgment Creditors.
The controversy stems from the former Speaker, Hon. Abok Nuhu, who is no longer a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly after defecting to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It is important to note that the speakership position is contingent upon membership. Thus, Hon. Abok Nuhu cannot reclaim the position of Speaker unless he is re-elected as a member of the House. The House declared Hon. Abok Nuhu’s seat vacant on March 22, 2022, following the reading of his resignation letter on the House floor, in compliance with the provisions of Section 109(1)g and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The APC Plateau State further refuted the claim made by the PDP that the judgment of the High Court is declaratory rather than executory. The judgment, which includes an award of exemplary damages in the sum of N20 million against the defendants, a mandatory injunction against the Clerk and the Plateau State Government to recognize Abok as Speaker and restore his privileges, as well as a perpetual injunction against the defendants/judgment debtors, cannot be considered executory.
In light of the ongoing legal proceedings, the status quo, as ordered by the Court of Appeal, maintains Hon. Yakubu Sanda as the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly. His appeal and the filing of a motion for stay and injunction against Abok and his allies seek to prevent the enforcement of the judgment.
The APC Plateau State also expressed concerns about the illiterate language and tone used in the fake news story currently circulating. They suspect that the desperate Abok Nuhu personally wrote and planted the story. Furthermore, it was revealed that Abok Nuhu has been exploiting past questionable financial dealings to blackmail the House of Assembly’s Clerk, who serves as the signatory to the House’s accounts. Hundreds of millions of naira have been illicitly paid to Abok Nuhu as satisfaction for the controversial judgment debt, despite its enforcement is currently suspended pending the appeal and motion for stay and injunction.