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Upcoming Court Hearing on Demand for Removal of Pro-Wike Lawmakers

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Set for March 18, 2024, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt will examine a lawsuit requesting the ousting of 27 legislators who switched allegiance from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.

Aligned with former Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, these lawmakers, led by Speaker Martin Amaewhule, defected amidst a political showdown between Wike and current Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The legal action seeking their removal was lodged by the Rivers State Civil Society Organizations.

The plaintiff argues that per Section 109 of the 1999 Constitution, these lawmakers should forfeit their seats for abandoning the party under which they were elected.

Originally scheduled for Monday, the hearing was postponed due to the absence of Presiding Judge Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, who was attending a judicial conference.

Therefore, the case was rescheduled for March 18.

In a separate development, the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, granted a request from Rivers elders, including Chief Arabs Sara-Igbe and nine others, to serve court papers to the leader of the pro-Wike lawmakers through alternative means.

These elders are seeking to invalidate resolutions made at a December meeting in Abuja, attended by Rivers State Governor Fubara, Wike, and legal representatives under the guidance of President Bola Tinubu.

Claiming that Tinubu’s involvement in the Wike-Fubara dispute was unconstitutional, the elders petition the court to annul the meeting’s resolutions.

As part of the resolution to address the conflict between Wike and Fubara, Fubara was instructed to acknowledge and present the 2024 budget to the pro-Wike lawmakers and to reinstate nine commissioners who had resigned during the crisis.

The elders, however, disagreed with the resolutions, alleging bias in favor of Wike over Fubara.

They subsequently sought intervention from the Rivers State High Court to void the resolutions.

Nevertheless, a January 23, 2024, ruling by Justice Chiwendu Nworgu dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds.

Dissatisfied, the plaintiffs pursued an appeal.

A three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Oluwayemisi Daudu, granted an expedited hearing of the case and set the next session for April 8, 2024.

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