Rivers: Court refuses to declare seats of pro-Wike lawmakers vacant

Rivers: Court refuses to declare seats of pro-Wike lawmakers vacant

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has refused the application seeking to declare vacant the seats of Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other members of the state House of Assembly.

Delivering judgement on Monday in the case filed by Hyacinth Amadi, Godspower Obuah, and Tonye Dairus seeking to declare the seats of 27 lawmakers vacant, Justice Okogbule Gbasam held that the claimants failed to prove that the defendants, Martin Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers, had actually defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Justice Gbasam further held that membership in a party is only proven by being listed on the party’s register or by a membership card, and that television ceremonies and/or verbal statements were not enough to show the same.

But reacting, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dagogo Israel Iboroma (SAN), said the suit was struck out for lack of jurisdiction.

The Attorney General, who spoke in a press statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Rivers State Governor, Nelson Chukwudi, said the suit was struck out for being an abuse of court process, which he said robbed the trial court of jurisdiction to adjudicate in the matter.

“As you all know, Martins Amaewhule and 26 others defected from the PDP to the APC on the 11th Day of December, 2023, and stated that much in affidavit evidence deposed to by Martins Amaewhule for himself and on behalf of 26 others in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023 before Hon. Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. The suit is still pending in court.

“However, you will recall that there is a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction in Suit No. PHC/1512/CS/2024, restraining Martins Amaewhule and his co-travellers from further parading or presenting themselves as lawmakers in Rivers State pending the determination of the substantive suit, which has not been appealed against till date,” he added.

He, therefore, urged the public to disregard the report to the effect that Amaewhule and 26 others had been affirmed by the court as members of the PDP and the Rivers State House of Assembly.

 

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