Tuesday , July 23 2024
Rivers

Rivers Crisis: 25 lawmakers remain sacked despite appeal court judgement — Pro-Fubara Rep members

Some members of the House of Representatives have said the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the political crisis in Rivers State has not changed the situation in the state.

The lawmakers, who are allies of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State, said this at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja while reacting to the judgement.

Led by Ikenga Ugochinyere (PDP, Imo), they said the 25 members of the Assembly, loyal to former Governor Nyesom Wike, remained sacked because the Court of Appeal only ruled on the jurisdiction of the Rivers State High Court to hear the case and not the main substance of the matter.

Mr Ugochinyere, who was flanked by three other lawmakers, said the judgement did not void the “sack of the 25 lawmakers”.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, in a judgement on Thursday, nullified the expulsion of a former speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, and 24 other lawmakers from the assembly.

A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, in May, barred the lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the state legislature after they defected from the PDP to the APC.

The appeal court held that Section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended gives the Federal High Court powers to determine whether the seat of a House of Assembly member has become vacant.

It also held that the Federal High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine the vacancy of a House of Assembly seat.

In his interpretation of the verdict, Mr Ugochinyere said the Court of Appeal did not rule on the legality of the decamping and the main substance of the matter.

He stated that the court did not decide on “the validity of their illegal decampment nor the declaration of their seats vacant.”

“The Court of Appeal ruling today shouldn’t be misconstrued in any way. The pro-Wike sacked Rivers lawmakers’ seats remain vacant as the Appeal Court didn’t decide on the validity of their illegal decampment nor the declaration of their seats vacant. The Appeal Court focused on declaring that the Federal High Court is the only court with the jurisdiction to decide on the legality or illegality of decampment, thereby ruling against Rivers High Court proceedings.

“So the actions of the House, formerly led by Martin Amaewhule, in declaring the seats vacant, have not been declared null and void by any court. Oko Jumbo remains the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The legal fireworks continue, as the declaration of the vacant seats is still valid and the subject of pending litigation,” he said.

Mr Ugochinyere said President Bola Tinubu must call some of his appointees to order so as not to give the impression of a “federal might”.

He urged the people of Rivers State to be vigilant and resist any attempt by politicians to take advantage of the court judgement.

In his remarks, Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP, Rivers) said the entire state cannot be subjected to the wish of Mr Wike.

 

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