Court Restrains Rivers State Chief Judge and Clerk from Acting on Defected Lawmakers’ Resolutions

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A High Court in Rivers State has issued an interim injunction barring the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Someone Amadi, and the state clerk of the House of Assembly from implementing any resolutions by 27 lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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The defection led by Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule has sparked legal battles, culminating in a recent Court of Appeal decision in Abuja overturning the expulsion of Amaewhule and 24 other lawmakers earlier ordered by the Rivers State High Court.

The appellate court ruled that under Section 272(3) of the Constitution, the Federal High Court holds exclusive jurisdiction to determine if seats in the House of Assembly have become vacant.

In a fresh order dated July 8, 2024, and obtained by SaharaReporters, Justice Jumbo Stephen of the Rivers State High Court enjoined the parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction scheduled for July 15, 2024.

The court specifically prohibited the state clerk from acting on any resolutions, articles of impeachment, or communications from the lawmakers pending further legal proceedings.

The affected lawmakers include Hon. Dumle Maol, Hon. Major Jack, Hon. Franklin Uchenna Nwabochi, Hon. Christopher Kagbang Ofiks, Hon. Azeru Opara, Hon. Enemi Alabo George, Hon. Granville Tekenari Wellington, Hon. Ngbar Bernard, Hon. John Dominic Iderima, Hon. Queen Uwuma, Hon Tony Williams, Hon. Loolo Isaiah Opuende, Hon Abbey Peter, Hon. Igwe-Obey Aforii, Hon. Justina Emeji, Hon. Ignatius Onwuka, Hon. Chimezie Nwankwo, Hon. Lemchi Prince Nyeche, Hon. Barile Nwakoh, Hon. Emilia Lucky Amadi, Hon. Nkemjika Ezekwe, Hon. Davios Arnold Oxobiriari, Hon. Nwankwo Sylvanus, Hon. Gerald Oforii, and Hon. Wami Solomon.

The court also ordered substituted service of legal documents by posting them at the gate of the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt.

The legal battle continues as the judiciary navigates through complex constitutional issues surrounding legislative defections in Nigeria.

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