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Court orders suspension of Rivers lawmakers’ sittings



Rivers State House of Assembly

Ehie together with the House of Assembly filed the notice alongside the main suit.

The parties involved in the suit are the Rivers State House of Assembly as the first plaintiff, and Ehie Edison, the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, as the second plaintiff.

The defendants named in the suit are Martins Amaewhule, the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, and Dumle Maol, the former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. Additionally, the suit involves the Inspector-General of Police, Director of the Department of State Services, Rivers State, and the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State.

Justice Ayua, while addressing the motion filed in the suit, ruled that none of the parties involved should take any action regarding the matter, emphasizing the need for all parties to respect the court.

The excerpt from the order states: “An order is made directing the plaintiffs/applicants to put the respondents on notice forthwith. An order is however, made, directing that all parties on record to respect the court and should not take any step concerning the subject matter since the matter is already before this court – sub judice – pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

In the suit, the new Speaker and the House of Assembly sought a declaration that the former Speaker and his former deputy, having been removed and suspended from the House, are not entitled to participate, disturb, interfere or obstruct the performance of the legislative proceedings of the House and the legislative duties of the new Speaker in accordance with the provisions of Sections 90 to 104 of the Constitution of Nigeria. They also sought an order restraining the former two principal officers of the House from interfering or participating in the functions of the House of Assembly.

Following the issuance of the order, the court scheduled the hearing of the motion on notice for November 27, 2023.

It was reported that the state legislature has been in turmoil due to a disagreement arising from an attempt by some members of the House to impeach the state governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

On Tuesday morning, the police once again took control of the state assembly complex, while members loyal to both factions reportedly held separate sittings at different locations.

Four police patrol vans were spotted at the entrance of the Assembly, with restricted movement along the Moscow Road axis of the Assembly. Additionally, an Armoured Personnel Carrier was seen moving along the road where the complex is located, with scores of armed operatives stationed at strategic locations.

It was gathered that 25 lawmakers led by Amaewhule convened early on Tuesday and deliberated on the suspension of the strike by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria. They also called on the state Commissioner for Police, Olatunji Disu, to investigate the explosion at the Assembly which resulted in the destruction of the Chamber and several properties.

On the other hand, the House members led by Ehie passed a vote of confidence on Governor Fubara, commending him for his developmental strides and security initiatives aimed at maintaining peace in the state.

Ken Uchendu, a legislative aide, stated in a release to newsmen that it takes a man of vision to lead the development for the benefit of the state’s residents, expressing the House’s commitment to supporting the governor’s agenda.

The lawmakers also condemned the attack on Ehie’s residence on Sunday night and the burning of the Assembly chamber, urging the governor to commence rehabilitation works as soon as possible. Furthermore, they called for a thorough investigation into the attacks by the Inspector General of Police and other relevant security agencies to bring the culprits to justice.