The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, July 17, declared seats of deceased lawmakers vacant.
The senators – Mustapha Bukar of Katsina North senatorial district and Ali Wakili of Bauchi South senatorial district – died on April 4, 2018 and March 17, 2018, respectively.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Yakubu Mahmood, said the House of Representatives also declared the seat of late Umar Jibril of Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency vacant.
Speaking at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja, Mahmood added that the Obudu 1 state constituency of Cross River state had also been declared vacant.
He said the by-elections for the vacant seats will be conducted in the next 30 days.
Mahmood said: “In the last few days the commission has received an official declaration of vacancies from the National Assembly in respect of Bauchi south senatorial district, Katsina north senatorial district and the Lokoja federal constituency in Kogi state.
“A similar declaration was made by the Cross River state House of Assembly in respect of Obudu 1 state constituency. Consequently, the commission is set to conduct by-elections to fill the vacancies in the four constituencies which have a total of over two million registered voters spread across 3,355 polling units in 234 wards and 22 local government areas.
“Considering the requirement of the law that such an election should be conducted by the commission within 30 days following the declaration of vacancy, we are planning to conduct all the four elections on the same date in all the four states,” he said.
However, the seat of a former governor of Plateau state Joshua Dariye was not declared vacant by the eighth Assembly.
Dariye who is representing Plateau Central senatorial district was sentenced to 14-years jail term by a Federal High Court.
Reacting to the Senate’s decision, the chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay, said stated that it would be wrong if Dariye was still receiving allowances while in prison.
“I don’t think he should be receiving salaries because this would be a major infraction of our laws. Someone who is in prison for fraud which is one of the reasons for disqualifying anyone from contesting should not be receiving salary unless someone is extremely reckless in the National Assembly,” Sagay said.