Court bars pro-Wike Speaker, Amaewhule, 24 others from parading as lawmakers

A RIVERS State High Court in Port Harcourt has barred the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, and 24 other lawmakers in the state from parading themselves as the Assembly member. 

The court also restrained Amaewhule from parading himself as the Assembly Speaker.

Amaewhule and 24 members of the House of Assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in December 2023. 

They are widely believed to be loyal to the state’s immediate past governor and the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.

The Rivers State High Court judge, Charles N. Wali gave the order barring them as lawmakers in a suit numbered PHC/1512/CS/2024, filled by Victor Oko Jumbo, the factional Speaker of the Assembly and two others.

Respondents in the case include Amaewhule and 24 others, the Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara, the state’s Attorney General and the Chief Judge.

After hearing from the applicants’ lawyers, Sammie A. Somiari and B.N.Owunabo, the judge ruled that Amaewhule should stop acting as the Speaker.

In addition, the court issued a restraining order, prohibiting Fubara and the Chief Judge, who are the 26th and 28th defendants in the suit, from engaging with Amaewhule and his 25 loyalists.

Part of the order reads: “An Order of interim injunction is granted restraining the 1st to 25th Defendants from parading and holding out themselves as members of Rivers State House of Assembly and/or meeting/sitting at the Auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters located at off Aba Road, Port Harcourt or any other place whatsoever to purport to carry out the legislative business of the Rivers State House of Assembly, their legislative seats having been declared vacant pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

The court adjourned the case till May 29, for motion on notice.

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The ICIR reported that there had been political tension in Rivers State following a rift between Fubara and Wike.

The tension was heightened in October 2023 during a fire outbreak at the Rivers State House of Assembly.

After the fire incident, impeachment processes were initiated against Fubara by some members of the House of Assembly believed to be loyal to Wike.

Fubara was accused of masterminding the fire as part of efforts to frustrate the impeachment process.

The pro-Wike lawmakers initiated the impeachment after 27 members led by Amaewhule defected from the PDP to the APC.




     

     

    While the members loyal to Wike were led by Amaewhule as Speaker, the others loyal to Fubara were led by Edison Ehie as Speaker. 

    Ehie was later appointed by the governor as his Chief of Staff after he resigned from the Assembly, following President Bola Tinubu’s intervention in the crisis.

    Weeks after the President’s peace deal collapsed, the parties returned to the battlefield.

    The feud took a new turn on Wednesday, May 8 when those loyal to the governor elected Victor Oko-Jumbo, a member from the Bonny constituency, as Speaker.

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