Thursday, 29 February, 2024

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Court orders warring Rivers lawmakers to maintain status quo, suspend sittings


A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has issued an order urging the two parties in the Rivers State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo and suspend further deliberations at the moment until the matter is dispensed.

Rt. Hon. Ehie Edison, in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/240/2023, had approached the Federal High Court, presided over by Honorable Justice Phoebe Ayua, praying for the court to stop Amaewhule and the other lawmakers from presiding over the activities of the legislative arm of the state.

The notice was filed together with the main suit by the new Speaker of the House of Assembly and the House of Assembly.

Parties as it appears in the suit are the Rivers State House of Assembly as the first plaintiff and Rt.Hon. (Barr) Ehie Ogerenye Edison (Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly) as the second plaintiff.

The defendants are Rt. Hon. Martins Chike Amaewhule (former Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly), Rt. Hon. Dumle Maol (former Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly), the Inspector-General of Police, Director, Department of State Security Services, Rivers State, and Commissioner of Police, Rivers State.

Justice Ayua, ruling on the motion filed in the suit, ordered that none of the parties on record should do anything about the matter since all the parties are expected to respect the court.

The order read in part: “That an order is made directing the plaintiffs or applicants to put the respondents on notice forthwith.

“That an order is, however, made, directing that all parties on record respect the Court and should not take any step concerning the subject matter, since the matter is already before this Court—sub judice—pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

In the suit, the new Speaker and the House of Assembly itself sought, amongst others, a declaration that the former speaker and his former deputy, having been removed and suspended from the House, are not entitled to participate, disturb, interfere, or obstruct the performance of the legislative proceedings of the House and the legislative duties of the new speaker in accordance with the provisions of sections 90 to 104 of the Constitution of Nigeria.

They also sought an order restraining the former two principal officers of the House from interfering with or participating in the functions of the House of Assembly.

After entering the order, the court fixed the hearing of the motion on notice for November 27, 2023.

It will be recalled that following some disagreement arising from the attempt by the former leadership of the House to impeach the State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, the Rivers State House of Assembly has been facing some leadership crises, leading to the removal of the former speaker and the election of Honorable Ehie Edison as the new speaker.

Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria

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