• Fubara expresses belief in resolving the crisis, PDP governors plan Port Harcourt meeting
On Wednesday, a Rivers State High Court in Isiokpo issued an interim order barring the Rivers State House of Assembly from proceeding with the planned impeachment of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
The court order restrained the Speaker of the House, Martin Amaewhule, Deputy Speaker, Dumle Mao, the Clerk of the House, and the State Chief Judge, Justice Simeon Chibuzor-Amadi.
Justice O. Ben-Whyte issued the restraining order after Fubara’s lawyer, Damian Okoro, presented an ex parte application marked IHC/230/CS/2023.
In his ruling, the judge stated: “It is hereby ordered that the parties in the case maintain the status quo in the case by the applicant as the Governor of Rivers State pending the application of the Motion on Notice. The case is hereby adjourned till the 14th of November, 2023 for the argument of the Motion on Notice.”
This court injunction is the latest development in the unfolding political turmoil in Rivers State, which began with the bombing of the state Assembly complex on Monday night due to the lawmakers’ plot to remove the governor. The lawmakers’ actions were instigated by Fubara’s predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who now serves as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Despite the intervention of President Bola Tinubu and the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, Wike refused to resolve the political feud with Fubara during a meeting with PDP governors in Abuja on Wednesday. Wike justified the impeachment plot against Fubara as constitutional and warned Fubara against forming an alliance with his political enemies to undermine him.
Nevertheless, Fubara remains undeterred by the minister’s belligerence and hinted during a forum in Port Harcourt that the crisis would be resolved, referring to his relationship with Wike as that of a father and son.
The dispute between Fubara and Wike, which led to protests and the arrest of 120 youths, has attracted attention from various political figures and stakeholders. In a meeting with Wike and Fubara, President Tinubu offered recommendations towards achieving peace. The PDP governors, led by their Chairman and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, also met with the minister to discuss the issue.
During the meeting, Governor Wike expressed his grievances against Fubara to the governors, who appealed to him to promote peace in Rivers State. The governors agreed to wait for the outcome of Tinubu’s recommendations and plan to have a similar meeting with Wike in the future.
Despite the ongoing tensions, Fubara expressed confidence on Wednesday that the crisis between him and Wike would be resolved. He likened their relationship to that of a father and a son, acknowledging that conflicts are not uncommon in such relationships.
Youths Granted Bail
Furthermore, a magistrate court in Port Harcourt granted bail to 120 youths who were arrested during a protest on Tuesday. The protestors allegedly invaded the official residence of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly following the political crisis in the state.
The defendants, including the state Chairman of the National Youths Council of Nigeria, Chijioke Ihunwo, were charged with five counts, including conspiracy, causing a riot, damaging the Speaker’s house gate, unlawful assembly, and causing a breach of public peace. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The magistrate, Gift Amadi, granted the Legal Adviser to NYCN, Chigozie Emem, bail on self-recognition, while the other defendants were granted bail with a bond of N100,000 each. The trial is scheduled to commence on December 5.
In response to the arrests, counsel for the defendants, Higher King, criticized the malicious nature of the prosecution. He emphasized that the individuals have a constitutional right to protest and express their anger, and their charges could not be sustained. King also condemned the police attack on the governor’s residence as unacceptable.
Former Militant Leader Urges Peace
Former militant leader and current Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom in Okrika, Rivers State, Ateke Tom, cautioned against adding ethnic dimensions to the dispute between Fubara and Wike. He emphasized the need for peace and reconciliation, urging that the issue should not be exploited for political gain.
Additionally, Tein Jack-Rich, a former presidential aspirant under the All Progressives Congress, called for calm in light of the attack on the Rivers State House of Assembly. He stressed the importance of restoring order and resolving the conflict.
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