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Rivers Assembly crisis: Appeal Court orders parties to maintain status quo – Guardian Nigeria News

Rivers State House of Assembly

The Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal has instructed all parties involved in the Rivers State House of Assembly crisis to maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the case.

The Court of Appeal issued the order in a lawsuit filed by Martin Chike Amaewhule and 24 others (the appellants) against Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo and five others (the defendants), with the case number CA/PH/198/2024.

Amaewhule and his co-appellants appealed to the higher court to set aside the interim injunction granted by a Port Harcourt High Court, which had allowed Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo to continue leading the state assembly, and sought to have the injunction vacated.

Justice Charles Wali of the State High Court had previously issued an order restraining Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule and 24 others from presenting themselves as the Speaker and members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, respectively, pending the determination of the suit.

The panel which sat virtually urged the parties involved in the matter to maintain the status quo and adjourned till the 20th of June.

The Court further declared that all legislation and decisions made by Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule and his colleagues are null and void, pending the outcome of the case.

However, when the Court the three Man Appeal Panel made up of Hon. Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, Hon. Justice Hamma Akawu and Hon. Justice Balkisu Bello Aliyu.

The appeal panel admonished both parties to refrain from taking any actions that could prejudice the case or jeopardize its outcome and ordered that the notice of appeal be served on the respondents (defendants) before the next adjourned date, ensuring that the matter proceeds without any undue interference.

In a related development, the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has once again delayed the hearing of a lawsuit filed by a civil society organization, which contests the legitimacy of Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, marking another setback in the case’s progression.

Justice Stephen Pam, the presiding judge, postponed the case to June 24 for a hearing due to the defendant’s absence.

The defendants’ legal counsel, Ferdinand Obi, had requested a delay, citing a conflicting appeal court case involving his clients, the 27 lawmakers, which required his attention.

Civil society organization are seeking a court injunction to restrain Governor Siminalayi Fubara from acknowledging or dealing with Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as legitimate members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, effectively seeking to prevent their recognition as lawmakers.

The civil society organization is seeking a court declaration that the seats of the 27 lawmakers.

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