Barr. Ogochukwu Onyema, an Enugu-based lawyer has approached the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu West praying it to declare the senatorial seat vacant.
Wakadaily reports that Senator Ekweremadu was arrested on 23 June 2022, in the United Kingdom for alleged organ harvesting.
According to Onyeama, the seat cannot continue to be vacant while Ekweremadu remains in detention.
“In the lawsuit marked FHC/EN/CS/7/2022 filed at the Federal High Court Enugu, Onyema is also seeking an order of the court “commanding and mandating” the National Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and PDP to “select, nominate, and forward” his name to the National Assembly “as a replacement” for Senator Ekweremadu.
“He also prayed the court to command and mandate the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and INEC to “withdraw or revoke, as the case may be, the Certificate of Return earlier issued to the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) and issue a fresh “Certificate of Return” to him.
“But in an originating summons, Onyema wants the court to determine, among others: “Whether it is the intendment and contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended 2018; the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended; and the Senate Legislative Calendar 2022, that the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate will be declared vacant by default, if the Senator representing, without just cause absent from sittings of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days during which the Senate meets in one year, which is one-third of 181.
“Whether by virtue of the continuous absence of the 3rd defendant (Ekweremadu) from the Senate since 22nd day of June 2022 or days prior (when he last attended the sitting of the Senate), up till the date of adaptation of this Summons, or any other date thereafter, it could be said that the 3rd defendant is still validly representing the plaintiff (Chief Onyema) and Enugu West Senatorial District, as provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, in Nigeria Senate.
“Whether going by the heinous allegations levelled against the 3rd defendant and his incarceration at the United Kingdom, Wandsworth Prison, since around 22nd day of June 2022 up till the date of adoption of this Summons, the 3rd defendant can be said to have defaulted and be away from representing the plaintiff and Enugu West Senatorial District in the House of Senate, for no just cause, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended in 2018.”