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Appeal Court Fixes June 20 to Hear Suit on Rivers Assembly Crisis

A Port Harcourt court has deferred the case addressing leadership crisis in Rivers Assembly to June 20.

A Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has adjourned till June 20, this year to continue hearing on matters bothering on the legitimate leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court also ordered the parties involved in the House of Assembly crisis in the state to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the court on the matter.

The 3-man appeal panel made up of Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, Justice Hamma Akawu and Justice Balkisu Bello Aliyu, gave the order on Friday.

The Appeal Court gave the order, via zoom, in a suit registered in CA/PH/198/2024 filed by Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule and 24 others (appellants) against Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo and five others (defendants).

The appeal panel further advised the parties not to take any step that would affect the merit of the matter before it and directed that notice of appeal be served on the defendants before the adjourned date.

Amaewhule and the 24 other lawmakers had approached the Appeal Court seeking to vacate the interlocutory injunction of a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt which empowered Oko-Jumbo to keep on with the leadership of the state assembly.

Justice Charles Wali of the State High Court had also ordered Amaewhule and 24 others to stop parading as speaker and lawmakers in the legislative arm of the state.

The court also held that all the laws made by Amaewhule and others were in nullity until the determination of the matter.

Similarly, the hearing on the suit filed by civil society organisations challenging the eligibility of Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the State House of Assembly faced another setback on Friday, at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.

The trial judge, Justice Stephen Pam, adjourned the case to June 24 for hearing following the absence of the defendants in court.

The lawyer to the 27 lawmakers, Ferdinand Orbih (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria) had written to the court requesting more time to attend another case at the Appeal Court involving his clients same on Friday.

The CSOs among other prayers are asking the court for the judicial interpretation of the action of the lawmakers who were elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

They want the court to determine if the lawmakers have not automatically lost their seats and cease to be lawmakers by their defection from the platform on which they were elected into office.

Blessing Ibunge

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