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Rivers Attorney-General, Court differ on status of 27 pro-Wike lawmakers

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  • Assembly members still in PDP, no evidence of defection to APC – Court

.Federal High Court will determine their fate, says govt

 

 

Emmanuel Nlewedum, Port Harcourt

 

 

The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has come out to say that there was no indication that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are still members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA).

Iboroma while addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt said there was already a misleading news in circulation that the 27 embattled lawmakers are members of the PDP and RSHA, describing the information as misleading.

Report had it that a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Monday affirmed that Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike are still members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Hon Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the State High Court while delivering judgement in a case filed by Hyacinth Amadi, Godspower Obuah and Tonye Darius as claimants, seeking to declare the seats of 27 lawmakers vacant, was quoted to have held that the Claimants failed to prove that the defendants (the lawmakers) had actually defected to the APC, noting that membership of a party is only proven by being listed on the party’s register or by membership card and that Television ceremonies and or verbal statements aren’t enough to show same.

Accordingly, Justice Gbasam further held that the Rivers State Government is bound to obey all laws passed by the Assembly as they are still members of the PDP hence their names are still in the PDP’s membership register as provided by the party, adding that the government is bound by the laws made by the Assembly as they are still members of the PDP and as such haven’t lost their seats.

But the Rivers State Attorney-General, in his briefing urged members of the public to disregard such news, emphasising that the entirety of the news is not true and has no basis in law.

He said, as the 3rd defendant in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024, his attention was drawn to a recent judgment of the court to that effect, explaining that the suit in question, did not seek to declare the seats of Martin Amaewhule and 26 others in Rivers State House of Assembly vacant.

His words, “The suit of the claimants was struck out for want of locus standi and jurisdiction and also for being an abuse of court process which robbed the trial court of jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.

“As you all know, Martins Amaewhule and 26 others defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress 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.”

Explaining further, the Rivers Attorney-General said, “By Section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is only the Federal High Court that can determine whether Martins Amaewhule and 26 others are still members of Peoples Democratic Party and also members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. This much was held by the trial 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.

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