Wike’s Allies Face Setback in Appeal Court Over Rivers Assembly Control

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The pro-Wike lawmakers’ effort to regain control of the Rivers State House of Assembly encountered a significant setback at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt on Friday.

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A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Hamma Barka, rejected the lawmakers’ request to vacate a Rivers State High Court order that empowers Governor Siminalayi Fubara-backed lawmakers to continue legislative business in the state assembly.

The appeal was filed by a former speaker of the assembly, Martin Amaewhule, and 24 others against the current Speaker, Victor Oko-Jumbo, and five others.

Mr. Amaewhule and the 24 lawmakers, whose seats were declared vacant following their defection to the APC, are loyal to the immediate-past governor of the state, Nyesom Wike (now the FCT Minister), while Mr. Oko-Jumbo and two other lawmakers who currently control the assembly are allies of Governor Fubara.

The appellate court also rejected the request by Wike’s allies to set aside the trial court’s order restraining them from parading themselves as members of the state assembly. Justice Barka further denied their request to restrain Governor Fubara-backed lawmakers from acting as assembly members.

The judge ordered all parties in the suit to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the appeal.

Pro-Wike Lawmakers’ Requests
The Mr. Amaewhule-led faction, dissatisfied with the trial court’s order, filed an appeal seeking a stay of execution of the interim injunction and an order restraining Governor Fubara from implementing the trial court’s decision. They also sought to restrain Mr. Oko-Jumbo and his allies from parading themselves as assembly members.

Since Mr. Oko-Jumbo’s controversial emergence as speaker, the assembly has confirmed the appointment of commissioners and carried out other legislative business. This prompted the pro-Wike lawmakers to ask the Court of Appeal to set aside the actions taken by the Fubara-backed lawmakers.

Court’s Decision
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal ordered all parties to maintain the status quo pending the appeal’s determination. Justice Barka stated, “A critical study of the prayers deals with the substance of the issues on appeal, and dealing or granting the same will tantamount to determining the issues on appeal at this interlocutory stage, which this court will decline to do.”

The court’s certified true copy of the ruling was provided to PREMIUM TIMES by Chukwudi Nelson, the spokesperson for Governor Fubara.

Background
The political crisis in Rivers State began in October last year when lawmakers backed by Mr. Wike initiated an impeachment plot against Governor Fubara. The conflict over control of the state’s political structure between Governor Fubara and Mr. Wike has continued despite a peace deal brokered by President Bola Tinubu.

Following the peace deal, pro-Wike lawmakers returned to the assembly and conducted legislative business, including overriding Governor Fubara’s veto on bills. This led Governor Fubara to declare that the pro-Wike lawmakers had lost their seats due to their defection to the APC.

Subsequently, Mr. Oko-Jumbo emerged as the new speaker of a three-member faction of the assembly and secured a court order restraining the pro-Wike lawmakers from parading themselves as assembly members, prompting the pro-Wike lawmakers to file an appeal.

Emman Tochi
Emman Tochihttps://naija247news.com
Emma Tochi is Naija247news Media Northern Bureau Chief, he's based in FCT Abuja. He overseas the northern operations of this business media

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