Rivers Assembly Crisis: Court Nullifies Fubara’s Presentation of 2024 Appropriation Bill Before Six Lawmakers

Rivers Assembly Crisis: Court Nullifies Fubara’s Presentation of 2024 Appropriation Bill Before Six Lawmakers

Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has voided the presentation of the Rivers State 2024 Appropriation Bill before a six- member legislators led by a Edison Ehie.

Justice Omotosho voided the presentation on the grounds that the six members before whom the budget was presented were not the authentic leadership of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“The presentation of the bill is void and deemed not to have been presented, passed into law” since it was presented to an unconstitutional six out of the 31 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, he said.

Besides, the court also voided and set aside the reposting and redeployment of the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly on the grounds that the governor lacked such powers over their appointments, adding that the appointment of the Clerk and Deputy are the exclusive of the Rivers State House of Assembly in conjunction with the Rivers State House of Assembly Commission.

Justice Omotosho, in a judgment delivered on Monday, further ordered the governor to release forthwith the salaries, allowances and all fringe benefits accruing to the 26 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to the former Governor of the state, Nyesome Wike.

The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, had dragged the National Assembly, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader to court over alleged plan by Governor Siminalayi Fubara to invite the National Assembly to take over the affairs of the state assembly.

Other respondents include the House of Representatives Speaker, House Deputy Speaker, House Majority Leader, House Minority Leader and the Clerk to the National Assembly as sixth to 10th defendants. 

The Governor of Rivers, Attorney-General of Rivers, Commissioner for Finance, Accountant-General of Rivers, Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Inspector-General (I-G) of Police and Hon. Edison Ehie, who is also listed as Rivers Assembly’s Speaker in the suit, are 11th to 17th respondents respectively.

The plaintiffs in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023, are asking the court for an order of injunction restraining the first to 10th defendants (National Assembly) from entertaining any request from the 11th defendant (Fubara) to take over the performance of the functions of Rivers Assembly, including its role to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Rivers in respect of matters that are within its constitutional and legislative competence.

Besides, they are also demanding from the court an order of mandatory injunction compelling the Inspector General of Police (whether by himself or by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force under his command) to provide and continue to provide adequate Security and protection for the first plaintiff under the leadership of the second plaintiff as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly for the purpose of transacting the business of the first plaintiff. 

In addition, they want the court to restrain the governor from impeding or frustrating the assembly under Amaewhule’s leadership as its speaker.

They equally sought an order of injunction restraining Fubara or the executive arm of the government of Rivers, including the 12th, 13th and 14th defendants from withholding any amount standing to the credit of Rivers Assembly in the state’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, including salaries and emoluments due and payable to the speaker, deputy speaker and other members of the house, as well as to the clerk, deputy clerk and other members of staff of the assembly.

Alternatively, they sought an order of injunction restraining them from denying the assembly of the due funds for running its affairs including the payment of salaries, allowances, emoluments and meeting its financial obligations no matter how described, among other 11 reliefs.

Details later…

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