Rivers Assembly crisis: Appeal Court grants ex parte order for 10 Rivers representatives

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An Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted an ex parte application to 10 representatives from Rivers State senatorial districts, led by Anabs Sara-Igbe.

The application sought to serve court processes to factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Martins Amaewhule, and lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, via substituted means.

The three-man appellate court led by Justice Oluwayamisi Williams-Dawodu also approved an ex parte application for an expedited hearing of the suit filed by Sara-Igbe and nine others, representing River’s sons and daughters.

The suit seeks constitutional interpretation regarding the alleged inconsistency of the directives for resolving the political impasse in the state with Section 1 of 2 of the Constitution of Nigeria.

The claimants additionally seek clarification on constitutional provisions, including whether the president has the legal authority to instruct the governor to re-present the 2024 budget to 24 lawmakers, led by Amaewhule, even after their seats were declared vacant following their defection.

They also inquired about the re-submission of nine names of commissioners who voluntarily resigned.

Justice Williams-Dawodu directed the court processes to be served on Amaewhule and the 24 lawmakers through WhatsApp or by affixing them to the wall of his residence.

He thereafter adjourned the case to April 8, 2024, for the commencement of the hearing.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Sara-Igbe emphasised that their pursuit is for justice, which he believes “will contribute to the conscientious governance of Rivers State.”

DAILY POST recalls that a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt Presided over by Justice Chinwendu Nworgu, declined jurisdiction to entertain the suit, referencing the judgement of Justice James Omotosho of the Abuja High Court that nullified activities of the Edison Ehie-led faction of the Assembly.

There have been several litigations, after an explosion rocked the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex that greatly affected the hallowed chamber on October 29, 2023.

The Rivers State House of Assembly had on October 30, 2023, commenced an impeachment process against Governor Siminalayi Fubara, citing abuse of power and gross misconduct.

The process was however interrupted by supporters of the governor.

The State Assembly became divided, with one faction loyal to the governor and the other faction loyal to the immediate past governor, Nyesom Wike, now FCT Minister.

Following the tension in the political space in the state, President Bola Tinubu intervened, which saw both parties sign an eight-point resolution in December 2023 to end the political impasse in the state.

The eight-point resolution, however, did not sit well with many stakeholders in Rivers State, thereby resulting in litigations.

The agreement signed at the State House in Abuja is thought to be in favour of the Minister of the FCT.


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