Rivers Crisis: Court Orders Parties to Maintain Status Quo

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Justice Phoebe Ayuba of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division has ordered parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice filed by the new Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison, and the House of Assembly.

Ruling on the motion filed in the suit, the trial judge ordered that none of the parties on record should do anything about the matter since all the parties are expected to respect the court.

Respondents in the suit are Rt Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule (Former Speaker, Rivers House of Assembly), RT. Hon. Dumle Maol (Former Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House-of Assembly, the Inspector-general of Police, the Director, Department Services, Rivers State and the Commissioner Of Police, Rivers State.

In the suit, the new Speaker and the House of Assembly itself sought amongst others, a declaration that the former speaker and his former deputy, having been removed and suspended from the House, are not entitled to participate, disturb, interfer or obstruct with the performance of the legislative proceedings of the House and the legislative duties of the new speaker in accordance with the provisions of sections 90 to 104 of the Constitution of Nigeria.

They also sought for an order restraining the former two principal officers of the House from interfering or participating in the functions of the House of Assembly. The Inspector General of the Police and the Director of the State Security Service are also parties.

The motion on notice is now fixed for the 27th of November, 2023 for hearing.

It will be recalled that following some disagreement arising from the attempt by the former leadership of the House to impeach the State Governor, Mr Sim Fubara, the Rivers State House of Assembly has been facing some leadership crisis leading to the removal of the former speaker and the election of Honorable Edison as the new speaker.

Since then, the House has not sat as the proceedings was adjourned.

Analysts said following this current case and the court order, the former speaker and his followers are not supposed to take laws into their hands.

Justice Ayua had earlier ordered the Rivers State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the House and the Deputy Speaker not to take any further step concerning the impeachment of the Governor of Rivers State pending the determination of a suit filed by Amadi Coddey Madubuochi and Goya Oluka

The Applicants, had in the suit marked: FHC /PH/CS/234/2023 filed by their lawyer, Eric Omare prayed the court for the following reliefs “An Order of Interim injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants from howsoever proceeding or carrying out any process and or issuing any directives connected with the impeachment or removal from office of the 7th and 8th Defendants pending the hearing and final determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this suit.

“An Order of interim injunction restraining the 4th Defendant from accepting any instruction, directive or notification and/or carrying out ony duty, direction or order from the 1st, 2nd 9th and 4th Defendants in connection wit any process howsoever intended to cause the removal from office of the 7th and 8th Defendants as Governor ond Deputy Governor of Rivers State pending the
hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this sult,

“An Order restraining the 5th, 6th and 9th Defendants from enforcing any instruction, notice or order issued by 1st, 2nd or 3rd Defendants or any officer acting on their behalf in connection with the removal of the 7th and 8th Defendants or obstructing them from acting pending the hearing ond final determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this suit.

And for such other or further orders os this Honourable Court may deem fil 1o make in the circumstances of this sult.

After reading the Affidavit in support of the Motion sworn to by Amadi Goddey Madubuctchi, and hearing E. K. Omare, for the Plaintiffs/Applicants, the court ordered as follows:

“That an Order is made directing the
Plaintiffs/Applicants to put the Respondents on Notice forthwith.

“That an Order is however, made, directing that all parties on record respect the Court and should not take any step concerning the subject matter in this matter, since the matter is already before this Court- sub judice-pending the hearing and determination of Mation on Notion”.

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