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Political Tensions in Rivers State: High Court halts impeachment proceedings against Gov Fubara

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A high court in Rivers State has issued an interim order restraining Simone Chibuzor-Amadi, the Chief Judge of Rivers State, from acting on any resolution or document seeking the impeachment of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The ruling, handed down by presiding judge Jumbo Stephen, comes amid escalating political tensions within the state legislature.

The court order stems from a motion ex parte filed by Governor Fubara and the state attorney-general.

The judge also restrained the chief judge and the clerk of the state assembly from dealing with Martin Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers loyal to former Governor Nyesom Wike. This faction, led by Amaewhule, is in direct opposition to Governor Fubara’s administration.

Key Players and Legal Actions

The defendants in this high-stakes political drama include the 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike, the chief judge, the clerk of the assembly, Victor Oko-Jumbo (the factional speaker), Sokari Goodboy, Orubienimigha Anthony, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court’s decision to issue an interim injunction is aimed at preventing these parties from engaging in actions that could lead to Governor Fubara’s impeachment until a motion for an interlocutory injunction is heard and determined.

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The court’s order mandates all parties to maintain the status quo ante litem, meaning that no further actions can be taken until the motion for an interlocutory injunction is resolved. The judge has scheduled the hearing for this motion on July 15.

Parallel Legislative Sessions

On May 30, a high court judge, Charles Wali, had previously restrained the lawmakers in Amaewhule’s faction from conducting legislative sittings anywhere, including within the legislative quarters. However, this order was overturned by the Court of Appeal on July 4.

The appellate court, led by a three-member panel including Jimi Olukayode-Bada, ruled that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the matter, asserting that such issues fall under the purview of a federal high court.

Despite the ongoing legal battles, both factions of the state assembly held parallel sessions in Port Harcourt on Monday. The pro-Wike faction has demanded that Governor Fubara resubmit the state’s 2024 budget within seven days.

They conducted their plenary session at the legislative quarters, further deepening the rift within the state’s political landscape. Additionally, the Amaewhule-led assembly has barred Governor Fubara from accessing the state’s consolidated revenue fund.

Implications and Outlook

The court’s interim order and the subsequent legal maneuvers underscore the volatile political environment in Rivers State. The outcome of the scheduled hearing on July 15 will be crucial in determining the next steps for both the Fubara administration and the opposing faction loyal to Wike.

As political stakeholders and observers await the court’s decision, the situation remains fluid, with potential implications for the governance and stability of Rivers State. The legal and political battles highlight the complexities and challenges inherent in managing state affairs amid deep-seated factionalism.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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