Hundreds of Nigerian students blocked the entrance of the National Assembly on tuesday as they protested the failure of the House of Representatives to swear in Tony Nwoye as a member, despite his possession of a valid INEC certificate of return.
In reaction to the development, the Nigerian Senate declared that anyone with a valid certificate of return must be sworn in.
The Senate position was made public by Enyinnaya Abaribe, spokesman of the Senate.
House of Representatives’ Speaker Aminu Tambuwal addressing the students said the House would always follow due process in resolving crisis stemming from disputed seat.
The Speaker gave the assurance to the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) who had earlier protested the delay in swearing-in of Nwoye as the new representatives of Anambra East/West Federal Constituency.
Tambuwal explained that he was not in any way against the swearing in of Nwoye, adding however, that he would have to follow due process.
According to him, the case between Tony Nwoye and Chriscato Ameke is still in court, and the House will ensure that none of the parties in dispute suffers injustice.
“We will take up this matter to do the right thing, this matter will receive due attention,” the Speaker assured.
Tambuwal stressed the need for the students protest of solidarity to be extended to other Nigerians aside from a former member of NANS.
Earlier, the NANS President, Mr Yinka Gbadebo, presented a letter to the House leadership, issuing a 72-hour ultimatum within which Nwoye would be sworn in as Member of the House.
He later extended the ultimatum to April 16 when the House is scheduled to resume from recess.
Nwoye, on July 13, 2012, secured a court order mandating INEC to recognise him as the candidate of the PDP for the Anambra East/West Federal Constituency.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Mr Chriscato Ameke, occupying the disputed seat, never participated in the said election in Anambra State.
INEC on July 16, 2012, issued Nwoye with a certificate of return and withdrew the initial one issued to Hon. Ameke in obedience to the judgement.
However, Nwoye did not take oath of office on August 17, 2012 as anticipated because the Office of the Clerk to the National Assembly failed to do the necessary documentation in order for him to be sworn in .
The students also recalled a letter dated March 14, 2013, and written by the Director of Legal Services at the National Assembly, advising the Speaker and Clerk of the House to swear in Nwoye .
This followed the judgement of the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal of Feb. 27, 2013 striking out the Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution filed by Hon. Ameke.
They further noted that Nwoye was still not sworn in despite the fact that a four-man panel headed by Rep. Ishaka Bawa had recommended that he should be sworn in.
Nwoye is contesting the Anambra East/West Federal Constituency seat with Ameke currently occupying the seat.
The bone of contention is about the rightful candidate of PDP in the party’s primaries in 2011 between Nwoye and Ameke as the PDP eventually won the seat.