Court reinstates pro-Wike lawmakers in Rivers

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has 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’s House of Assembly after they defected from the PDP to the APC.

The embattled lawmakers are backed by the immediate past governor of the state, Nyesom Wike. Mr Wike, now FCT minister, is engaged in a protracted political battle with Governor Siminalayi Fubara over the control of the political structure in the oil-rich state.

Three lawmakers loyal to Mr Fubara have been running the affairs of the Rivers State assembly since the court barred their colleagues from parading themselves as lawmakers.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the exparte order, Channels TV reported.

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

The express mention of the Federal High Court in Section 272 (3) of the Constitution automatically excludes all state high courts from having the jurisdiction, the court held.

It ruled that the exparte order having been made without jurisdiction is null and void.

While functioning as assembly members, the pro-Wike lawmakers passed several laws by overriding Governor Fubara’s veto.

In one of the bills, the lawmakers amended the Local Government Administration Law, stripped Governor Fubara of the power to appoint caretaker committees for local government council, and extended the tenure of the elected council officials by six months.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More