Fubara versus Wike: Court nullifies passage of Rivers 2024 budget

THE Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, January 2024, nullified the presentation and passage of the Rivers State 2024 budget.

The ICIR reported that the state governor, Siminalayi Fubara, presented the 2024 budget to only five state House of Assembly members on Wednesday, December 13, 2023.

This happened after 27 of the 32-member Assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor signed the budget into law a few days after the five members passed it.

In a judgment on Monday, January 22, delivered by James Omotoso, the court mandated Fubara to represent the budget to the lawfully constituted House of Assembly under the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule.

Omotosho held that everything the pro-Fubara lawmakers did was null and void.

The court also recognised Amaewhule as the Speaker of the state assembly.

Omotoso invalidated withholding the House of Assembly budget and declared that the governor lacked the constitutional power to do so. 

The court ruled that Fubara could not prevent the House of Assembly, led by Amaewhule, from meeting and should not meddle with its affairs.

The governor’s decision to redeploy the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the House was deemed invalid and revoked.

The court directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide the Speaker and lawmakers with sufficient security.

The judge also ordered the Clerk and Deputy Clerk to return to work immediately.

Besides, it prevented the National Assembly from accepting or handling Fubara’s requests or take control of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

    Fubara was directed to give Amaewhule access to all funds held in the House of Assembly’s coffers.

    The ICIR reports that in addition to the lawmakers’ defection, a wave of resignations rocked the Rivers State’s executive council on December 16, 2023, due to the political impasse between Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, now a minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

    On Monday, December 18, President Bola Tinubu waded into the crisis for the second time and brokered a truce before the crisis simmered.

    He agreed with parties in the fued on eight issues, including immediate withdrawal all legal proceedings Fubara and his group initiated in courts over the crisis, return of defected Assembly and cabinet members.

    The resolution was signed by Fubura and Wike, Amaewhule among others.
    On Wednesday, January 17, the House cleared all the nine commissioners who resigned from their positions in the cabinet of Fubara.

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