By Toby Prince
Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and 52 other lawmakers have given until April 17 to respond to a suit asking them to vacate their seats, Federal High Court Abuja ruled on Friday.
The suit was filed by an advocacy group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, (LEDAP).
The group prayed the court to declare their seats vacant as a result of defection to other political parties before expiration of their tenure.
Saraki and Dogara headlined the list of lawmakers who switched party allegiance in the build-up to 2019 general elections.
LEDAP also sought a declaration that the lawmakers were no longer entitled to receive any remuneration due to a federal lawmaker and that any of such remunerations after their date of defection be refunded to the Federal Government.
Seventeen Senators, 37 members of the House of Representatives, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney-General of the Federation and the clerks to both houses make up the defendants in the case.
The court had on Thursday suspended judgement on the suit.
However, when the case was called on Friday, Efut Okoi announced appearance for the Senate and the senators while Safiya Mohammed announced appearance for the House members.
Counsel to LEDAP, Jubrin Okutepa, said that the defendants were attempting to confuse the court by changing counsel.
Justice Okon Abang, however, held that it was in the interest of justice to hear all counsels in the matter and ordered the defendants to file their reply by April 17.
The case was adjourned until April 18.