Appeal Court Didn’t Void Declaration Of 27 Rivers Lawmakers’ Seats As Vacant — Reps Member, Ugochinyere

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The Spokesperson of the Coalition of opposition Federal Lawmakers Coalition G60 in the House of Representatives known as ‘G60 lawmakers,’ Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere has stated that the Appeal Court did not void the declaration as vacant, the seats of 27 sacked lawmakers.

 

According to him, the declaration of the seats of the 27 sacked Rivers lawmakers remains valid and have not been nullified by any court in Nigeria

 

Recall that Justice Charles Wali of the Rivers State High Court had on May 10, issued an interim injunction that restrained the lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the Assembly, having decamped from the political party that sponsored their elections.

 

The court order followed a suit that was filed by Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo who subsequently emerged as the Speaker of the Assembly.

 

The litigants, in their suit, contended that the ousted Speaker, Martin Amaewhule and the other defected lawmakers ceased to be members of the Rivers State House of Assembly since December 13, 2023, when their seats were declared vacant.

 

While upholding the case of the plaintiffs, Justice Wali barred the pro-Wike lawmakers from accessing the Assembly complex or carrying out any legislative assignment in the name of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

 

However, the appellate court, ruling on a suit lodged before it by the former lawmakers who were led by the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Amaewhule on Thursday, held that the Rivers State High Court, which issued the order, lacked the requisite jurisdiction to do so.

 

The court held that Section 272(3) of the Constitution gives the Federal High Court powers to determine whether the seat of a House of Assembly member has become vacant.

 

Reacting to the ruling, Ugochinyere stressed that the Pro-Wike sacked Rivers lawmakers’ seat remains vacant as the Appeal Court did not decide on the validity of their defection from the party that elected them nor make declaration on their seats.

 

According to him, the Appeal Court focused on declaring that the Federal High Court is the only court with the jurisdiction to decide on the legality or illegality of decampment, thereby ruling against Rivers High Court proceedings.

 

He further stressed that the legal fireworks continues, as the declaration of the vacant seats is still valid and subject of pending litigation.

 

He said, “The Court of Appeal ruling today shouldn’t be misconstrued in any way. The sacked Rivers lawmakers’ seat remains vacant as Appeal Court didn’t decide on the validity of their illegal decampment nor the declaration of their seats vacant.

 

“Appeal Court focused on declaring that the Federal High Court is the only court with the jurisdiction to decide on the legality or illegality of decampment thereby ruling against Rivers High Court proceedings.

 

“So the actions of the House formerly led by Ehi in declaring the seat vacant have not been declared null and void by any court. Jumbo remains the speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly; the legal fireworks continues, as the declaration of the vacant seats is still valid and subject of pending litigation,” Ugochinyere said.

 

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