Rivers: Fubara fights back as court stops 24 pro-Wike lawmakers
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Rivers: Fubara fights back as court stops 24 pro-Wike lawmakers

May 11, 2024

Rivers: Fubara fights back as court stops 24 pro-Wike lawmakers

Admin By Adewale Adewale
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- Fubara's Gazette relocating the assembly surfaces

Amaewhule led lawmakers’ to write UN, US Embassy

- Order 27 lawmakers’ arrest’ – G60 PDP Reps

 

There is a new twist to the crisis rocking the political space in Rivers State as the Governor of the State, Siminalayi Fubara seems to be fighting back following the ruling of the Rivers State High Court, Friday, stopping the 24 lawmakers loyal to former Governor Nyesome Wike from parading themselves as lawmakers in the State.

On Friday, a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt barred the Speaker of the State House of Assembly loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and 24 other lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the state legislature.

Justice Charles N. Wali gave the order in suit number PHC/1512/CS/2024, filed by Victor Oko Jumbo (Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly), Sokari Goodboy, Orubienimigha Timothy, members of the Assembly against Martin Chike Amaewhule and 24 others, and the Governor of Rivers State, the attorney general of the state and the chief judge of the state.

Justice Wali, following the motion ex-parte and after hearing from Sammie A. Somiari, SAN, with B. N. Owunabo and others for the claimants/applicants entered that Amaewhule and the 23 other state legislators should stop acting as lawmakers.

Wali also ordered that the government of the state to stop dealing with the said lawmakers as their seats had remained vacant after they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party that produced them.

The order read, “An order of interim injunction is granted restraining the first to 25th defendants from parading and holding out themselves as members of Rivers State House of Assembly and/or meeting/sitting at the auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters located off Aba Road, Port Harcourt or any other place whatsoever to purport to carry out the legislative business of the Rivers State House of Assembly, their legislative seats having been declared vacant pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“An order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the 26th to 28th defendants from dealing with, interfacing, accepting any resolutions, bills and/or howsoever interacting with the first to 25th defendants in their purported capacities as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, their legislative seats having been declared vacant with effect from December 13, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

“It is further ordered that this order, the motion on notice, and the writ and other processes in this case be served on the first to 25th defendants/respondents within seven days from the date by substituted means to wit: by pasting at the entrance gate of the Rivers State House of Assembly Legislative Quarters, Off Aba Road, Port Harcourt, and for such service to be deemed good and proper.”

The court, however, adjourned the case to May 29, 2024, for a motion on notice.

Twenty-seven lawmakers of the Assembly led by Amaewhule had defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress in the heat of the political crisis that rocked the state, occasioned by the feud between Fubara and his predecessor and estranged political godfather, Wike.

On Friday found that both the first and second gates of the lawmakers’ estate were safeguarded by about 30 armed policemen, while about 25 patrol vans were used to block the two entrances.

Also, one of the entrances is adjacent to the Mobile Police Force 19 Division, while the other is beside the office of the National Identification Management Commission.

The development came shortly after the Speaker of the House, Martins Amaewhule, accused Governor Fubara of planning to demolish the legislative quarters during his unannounced visit to the facility on Thursday afternoon.

The governor, however, had explained that his visit to the estate on Thursday was harmless and was to access the building following the emergence of a new speaker.

“Is the Assembly quarters not part of my property? Is there anything wrong in going to check how things are going on there? You are aware of the developments. We have a new speaker, and I went there to see for myself how things are. There might be a few things I might want to do there for the good of our people,” the governor said.

Following the alarm raised by Amaewhule, the anti-Fubara lawmakers, including some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, had kept vigil around the estate till Friday (yesterday).

 

Fubara gazettes ordering relocating Rivers Assembly surfaces

Governor Fubara, however, gazetted Executive Order 001 relocating the State House of Assembly to sit in the Auditorium, Admin Block of the Government House, Port Harcourt.

The gazette dated December 14, 2023, said the explosion at the hallowed chamber of the State Assembly on October 29, 2023, was the reason for the relocation.

According to the governor, the current state of the chamber was unsafe and constituted a threat to the lives of the staff and members of the assembly.

Fubara emphasised that it became necessary to carry out urgent repairs, renovation, and reconstruction of the burnt and damaged chambers of the House of Assembly.

“Now, therefore, I, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the Governor of Rivers State, this 30th Day of October 2023, pursuant to the powers vested in me under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria hereby issue, order and direct that all proceedings and business of the Rivers State House of Assembly shall temporarily take place at the auditorium, Admin Block, Government House, Port Harcourt, until the repairs, renovation and reconstruction of the chambers of Rivers State House of Assembly,” Governor Fubara stated.

 

Amaewhule led lawmakers’ to write UN, US Embassy

Meanwhile, the Amaewhule-led lawmakers Rivers State House of Assembly have decried what it termed the autocratic posture of Governor Siminialayi Fubara in the governance of the State and resolved to write to the United Nations, the British High Commission, and the United States Embassy over the intimidation of members of the state legislature.

The Martin Amaewhule-led lawmakers said this during its 177th Legislative sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday, according to a statement issued by a media aide to the Speaker of the House, Martins Wachukwu, and sent to newsmen.

Amaewhule charged members to “stand firm so that democracy will survive in the State, and to resist ethnic division in whatever guise.

“The House thereafter resolved to write to the British High Commission, the American Embassy, the European Union, and the United Nations, intimating them of the mephistophelian and tyrannical disposition of Governor Siminialayi Fubara towards the Rivers State House of Assembly.”

 

Order 27 lawmakers’ arrest’ – G60 PDP Reps

In a related development, the group of 60 lawmakers in the Federal House of Representatives fondly known as G-60 has urged Governor Fubara to order the arrest of the 27 lawmakers of the State House of Assembly challenging his authority in the state over the past few weeks.

Reacting to the development in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, the spokesman for the G-60 lawmakers and member representing Ideato North/Idaeto South Federal Constituency, Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere, urged Fubara to demand the arrest of the lawmakers without further delay, noting that their actions since their defection is capable of bringing the state into anarchy.

He said, “We are calling on the governor and the people of Rivers State to commence the process of using the magistrate court to arraign these clowns and prosecute them for criminal acts of impersonation. That must be done now because it is the only way to restore sanity to the political space that they are polluting.

“Pick them up on the grounds of impersonation because they are unknown to law. They are not lawmakers; their seats have been declared vacant, and they must be charged for criminal impersonation. When this is done, this madness will end.”

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