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Rivers State Assembly: court overturns order against speaker



Court overturns order against Rivers State Assembly speaker

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an ex parte order issued by the Rivers State High Court that barred Martin Amaewhule from parading as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and restricted 24 pro-Wike lawmakers from accessing the Assembly complex.

A three-man panel led by Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada upheld the appeal filed by Amaewhule and the 24 lawmakers against the Speaker, Victor Oko-Jumbo, and others. The state high court had previously barred these lawmakers, alleging their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Yaroe, in his lead debate, highlighted the disparity between the pension benefits of the Nigeria Police and other frontline security agencies like the Army, Navy, Air Force, and DSS, urging for equity in pension payments.

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The pro-Wike lawmakers had defected amid a political rift between former Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and current Governor Siminalayi Fubara. In response, pro-Fubara lawmakers obtained a restraining order from Justice Charles Wali of the state high court, preventing the pro-Wike faction from conducting legislative duties.

Justice Olukayode-Bada declared that the trial court lacked jurisdiction and emphasized that the urgency cited in the ex parte order was self-induced.

The appellate court’s judgment has generated mixed reactions within the APC. Chief Tony Okocha, the Rivers State APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and Wike ally, welcomed the verdict, whereas the faction loyal to former Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi expressed disagreement.

APC National Legal Adviser Prof. Abdulkareem Kana supported the appeal court’s decision, distinguishing between political and legal defection processes, and underscored the procedural steps required for official party defection.

The Rivers State PDP Chairman, Aaron Chukwuemeka, was unavailable for comment.

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