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Court sacks Benue lawmaker, orders refund of 3 years’ salary

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After three years of legal battle over a legislative seat in the Benue House of Assembly, the Appeal Court in Makurdi on Friday gave judgment in favour of Joseph Boko and ordered the immediate sack of Benjamin Nungwa, the occupant of the seat.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both Boko and Nungwa contested the APC primary of Kwande West legislative seat in the state house of assembly in April 2015, which was won by Boko.

Dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary, Nungwa, sent a petition concerning the outcome of the primary to the APC National Secretariat for arbitration.

NAN reports that an Arbitration Panel was set up by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to resolve the disputed primary election.

However in her judgment, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Makurdi, affirmed Nungwa as the APC’s candidate and cited the decision of the National Working Committee of the party as the basis.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Boko approached the Supreme Court, which after hearing the matter, expunged all cross appeals and motions that were unnecessary to the case and transmitted it back to the Appeal Court with a directive for a speedy retrial on merit.

In a unanimous judgement, read by Justice Joseph Ekanem and supported by Presiding Judge, Justice Hannatu Sankey, on Friday in Makurdi, the court overturned the judgment of the Federal High Court, which affirmed Nungwa as the winner of the legislative seat.

The court, therefore, ordered the immediate sack of Nungwa, who was described as “an illegal occupant of the Kwande West legislative seat’’.

The jurists also ordered him to refund all salaries and allowances earned within the three years he occupied the seat in the Benue House of Assembly and granted N200,000 costs to the appellant.

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