Revered constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has explained that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is duty-bound to conduct a fresh election for the seats of Rivers State House of Assembly already declared vacant.

According to Falana, the lawmakers whose seats were declared vacant were bereft of sound legal advice as he faulted their defection from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Falana spoke on the matter in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.

He said, “The legislators were not exposed to sound legal advice. Everybody should know that once the Supreme Court has made a pronouncement on a matter in any country, you’re bound to comply, and if you’re going to take any decision, you must study the judgement critically.

“Just yesterday, over 20 legislators who defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, had their seats declared vacant by the court. That’s the law; unless the Supreme Court decides to change it, that is the law in Nigeria today.

“It’s also a good development; it’s a good law; it’s a good interpretation that there should be no political prostitution in the country because it’s tantamount to political immorality if you vote on the platform of a political party and you abandon the party; you’re advised to go and try your luck by contesting again under the new political party,” he said.

Recall Theliberationnews reported that the Rivers State House of Assembly has declared the seats of the 27 members who recently defected from the PDP to APC.

The 27 lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, defected from the party recently amid moves to impeach the state governor, Sim Fubara.

The affected lawmakers were not present at the sitting where their seats were declared vacant.

The four-member Assembly, led by factional Speaker, Edison Ehie who is loyal to the state governor, on Wednesday, said the decision to declare the seats vacant was in line with Section 109 (1) (g) and 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The Speaker, who read the names of the lawmakers affected, called on INEC to conduct fresh elections within the time frame provided by law to fill the positions.

“Distinguished colleagues, the House will duly inform the Independent National Electoral Commission of the vacancies in the Rivers State House of Assembly and indeed, conduct a fresh election to fill the above vacancies,” he declared.