Court returns pro-Wike lawmakers to Assembly

The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, has dismissed the ex parte order issued on May 10, 2024, by the Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt.

Recall that the order barred Martin Amaewhule from parading himself as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court also dismissed the decision of the state high court stopping the 24 members of the Assembly loyal to ex-Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike, from accessing the complex or carrying out any legislative assignment in the name of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

A three-man panel led by Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada, in its judgment, upheld the appeal filed by a factional Speaker of the River State House of Assembly, Amaewhule, and 24 others against the Speaker, Victor Oko-Jumbo, and two others.

The state high court had barred the pro-Wike lawmakers from the Assembly based on a suit seeking to declare their seats vacant on the basis that they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.

The Amaewhule-led lawmakers had in December 2023 announced their defection from the PDP to the APC amid the political rift between Wike and the incumbent Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

On Thursday, the APC in Rivers State was divided over the appellate court’s verdict reinstating the pro-Wike lawmakers to the Assembly.

The Rivers State House of Assembly has been polarised since 2023 following the feud between Fubara and, Wike.

While Amaewhule led pro-Wike lawmakers, Edison Ehie, emerged as a factional Speaker, leading pro-Fubara lawmakers.

In December 2023, the pro-Wike lawmakers defected from the PDP to the APC.

Ehie later resigned as a lawmaker and was appointed as Fubara’s Chief of Staff.

In May 2024, the lawmaker representing Bonny Constituency, Oko Jumbo, was elected the Speaker.

The pro-Fubara lawmakers approched Justice Charles Wali of the state high court and obtained an order restraining the 25 pro-Wike lawmakers from parading themselves as Rivers Assembly members following their defection.

The trial judge barred the pro-Wike lawmakers from conducting legislative sittings anywhere — including within the legislative quarters.

He also restrained Governor Fubara from interfacing with or accepting resolutions and bills from the 25 lawmakers.

Displeased, the pro-Wike lawmakers, however, appealed, leading to Thursday’s pronouncement by the appellate court.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Olukayode-Bada said,“The trial court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit of the respondents and there must be an existence of real urgency and not self-induced urgency in granting an ex parte.”



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