Battle over the Akwa-Ibom North East Senatorial District seat deepened on Tuesday as both Senator Albert Bassey Akpan and Hon. Etim Bassey continued to lay claim on the seat in Senate.
A Federal High Court Sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State had delivered judgement that Senator Albert Akpan should vacate the Akwa-Ibom North East Senatorial District with immediate effect.
But on Tuesday no fewer than 20 lawyers under the aegis of concerned Lawyers on Akwa-Ibom North East Senatorial District disclosed that Senator Albert Akpan has right under the constitution to appeal the judgement FHC sitting in Uyo.
The concerned lawyers in a communique issued, which was signed by all of them, revealed how Hon. Bassey Etim benefited from judicial and statutory nature of section 143 of the Electoral Act.
The group also advised the Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami, to limit himself to the scope of his power defined by section of 174 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The communique reads in part: “By virtue of section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended), Senator Bassey Albert Akpan has the right to appeal, as of right, the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo.
“Section 143t of the Electoral Act provides that if the election Petition Tribunal or the court, as the case may be, determines that the candidate elected was not validly elected, then if notice of appeal against that decision is given within 21 days from the date of the decision, the candidate elected shalll, nothwitstanding the contray decision of the election tribunal or the court remain in office the determination of the appeal.”
Among those signed the communique were Omang Charlse, Iniobong Utuk, Maxwell imumolen, Brown Udobang.
However, in his reaction to the communique, the lawyer to Hon. Etim Bassey, Franc Etietie, said it is illegal for Albert to continue to occupy the seat of Akwa-Ibom North East because court competent juridiction has thrown him out.
Etietie expressed dissatisfaction with decision of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to swear-in Hon. Bassey Etim since he has been given the Certificate of Returns by the Independent National Electoral Commission.