Appeal Court nullifies order on defection of pro-Wike lawmakers

Appeal Court nullifies order on defection of pro-Wike lawmakers

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed the order of a Rivers high court which restrained Martin Amaewhule and 24 others from parading themselves as lawmakers of the state assembly.

In the appeal, marked: CA/PH/198/2024, the pro-Wike lawmakers urged the appellate court to stay the execution of the high court judgement.

They further prayed to the appellate court to invalidate all the legislative actions that have been taken by the Jumbo-led Rivers State House of Assembly.

The lawmakers, who won their elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had on December 11, 2023, announced their defection to the APC.

Subsequently, the Rivers Assembly led by the then Speaker, Hon. Edison Ehie, on December 13, declared their seats vacant owing to their defection.

A three-member panel of the appellate court led by Jimi Olukayode-Bada, held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, as such matters can only be heard and determined by a federal high court.

It therefore, invalidated all the restraining orders that were issued against them by the high court.

The appeal, which was filed by Amaewhule, factional speaker of the Rivers state house of assembly, and 24 others, sought to vacate the order of a high court in Port Harcourt that restrained them from parading themselves as lawmakers.

On May 30, Charles Wali, the high court judge, restrained the lawmakers in Amaewhule’s faction from conducting legislative sittings anywhere, including within the legislative quarters.

The judge also restrained Siminalayi Fubara, governor of Rivers, from interfacing with or accepting resolutions and bills from the 25 lawmakers.

The suit was filed by Victor Oko Jumbo, a factional speaker, and two other lawmakers , Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Adolphus Timothy. The three legislators are loyal to Fubara.

The court also held that all of the laws made by Amaewhule and others would amount to a nullity until the matter was determined.

The appellants had asked the appeal court to dismiss the judgment of the lower court and nullify the decisions taken by Jumbo’s faction.(NAN)