- A Nigerian-born British lawmaker, Fiona Onasanya, has been sent to jail for three months
- Onasanya was caught for over speeding in July 2017 but lied that she was not driving at the time she was said to have committed the offence
- The prosecution, however, busted her lies making the court to jail her for three months
A Nigerian-born British lawmaker, Fiona Onasanya, has been sent to jail for three months, becoming the first sitting politician in nearly 30 years to be jailed after she lied to police when she was issued with a speeding ticket by police.
According to BBC, Solicitor Onasanya had denied driving when her car was spotted being driven at 41mph in a 30mph zone in July 2017.
She was reportedly expelled from her party, the Labour Party, after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Legit.ng gathers that, contrary to her claims of not driving, Onasanya was actually the one behind the wheel, texting as well as speeding beyond the regulated speed limit.
As he sentenced her, Justice Stuart-Smith told Onasanya: “You have not simply let yourself down, you have let down those who look to you for inspiration, your party, your profession and Parliament.”
The judge said noted that Onasanya’s life as a new lawmaker in 2017 was "extremely hectic and chaotic" and she had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when police began to pursue her.
The lawmaker, however, reportedly stated she intends to appeal against her conviction.
Her brother Festus was jailed for 10 months for his involvement, after pleading guilty to the same charge.
After her brother falsely filled out her Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), she made the “disastrous decision” to keep up the lie from November 2017, the judge added.
The prosecution told the court she went on to collude with her brother to avoid being subject to the speeding ticket.
Onasanya was elected as Labour MP for Peterborough in June 2017, six weeks before committing the offence, in Thorney, Cambridgeshire.
Despite being convicted, Onasanya will not automatically lose her seat, according to the British laws.
If Onasanya had been jailed for 12 months or more, parliamentary rules state she would have automatically lost her seat.
However, with a three month jail term however, she will instead face what's known as a Recall Petition.
This means that residents can force a by-election if the petition is signed by more than 10% of the Peterborough electorate which is around 7,000 people.
However, because Onasanya has lodged an application to appeal against her conviction, the petition can't be opened until that process is complete.
There are, however, pressures on Onasanya to resign her position.
A spokesman for the Labour Party said Onasanya had “let the voters of Peterborough down”.
“When she was found guilty she should have immediately done the decent thing and resigned,” he said.
“Today's sentence gives Fiona one last opportunity to act honourably and resign from parliament.
“If Fiona does not resign, Labour will support local residents in their efforts to trigger a by-election through a recall petition."
The Conservatives also called for Onasanya to resign her position as a lawmaker.
“She cannot possibly represent her constituents from prison and should do the decent thing and immediately step down,” a spokesman said.
“If she doesn't, we will campaign to use a recall petition to ensure that the residents of Peterborough can have their say in a by-election for a new MP.”
Legit.ng recalls that Onasanya was one of the seven elected members of the British Parliament with Nigerian heritage.
This was revealed by United Kingdom-based Nigerian university lecturer, Dr Adebisi Adewole, who is also the managing editor of African Pulse Magazine.
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