Fubara: Appeal Court nullifies order on defection of pro-Wike lawmakers

By Saidu Idris

365Daily – The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the order of the Rivers High Court which restrained Martin Amaewhule and 24 others from parading themselves as lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

In an appeal marked CA/PH/198/2024, the pro-Nyesom Wike lawmakers urged the appellate court to stay the execution of the high court judgment on removing them from office for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) December 11, 2023.

They also prayed the appellate court to invalidate the Jumbo-led Rivers House of Assembly’s legislative actions.

The Rivers Assembly led by the then-speaker, Edison Ehie, on December 13, declared their seats vacant owing to their defection.

In its Thursday ruling, the three-member panel of the appellate court led by Jimi Olukayode-Bada held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, as such matters can only be heard and determined by a federal high court.

It, therefore, invalidated all the restraining orders that were issued against them by the high court.

The appeal, which was filed by Mr Amaewhule, factional speaker of the Rivers assembly, and 24 others, sought to vacate the order of a high court in Port Harcourt that restrained them from parading themselves as lawmakers.

On May 30, Charles Wali, the high court judge, restrained the lawmakers in Amaewhule’s faction from conducting legislative sittings anywhere, including within the legislative quarters.

The judge also restrained Governor Siminalayi Fubara from interfacing with or accepting resolutions and bills from the 25 lawmakers.

The suit was filed by Victor Oko Jumbo, a factional speaker, and two other lawmakers, Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Adolphus Timothy. The three legislators are loyal to Mr Fubara.

The court also held that all of the laws made by Amaewhule and others would amount to a nullity until the matter was determined.

The appellants had asked the appeal court to dismiss the lower court’s judgment and nullify the decisions taken by Jumbo’s faction.

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