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HomePoliticsRivers State Attorney General refutes court ruling on 26 lawmakers’ party affiliation

Rivers State Attorney General refutes court ruling on 26 lawmakers’ party affiliation

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The Rivers State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Dagogo Iboroma has dismissed reports claiming that a High Court in Port Harcourt affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

During a press briefing in Port Harcourt, Iboroma clarified that the suit, numbered DHC/20/CS/204, did not seek to declare the lawmakers’ seats vacant.

He explained that the case was dismissed due to a lack of locus standi and jurisdiction, as well as an abuse of court process, which deprived the trial court of the authority to adjudicate the matter.

Iboroma asserted that Martin Amaewhule, who had served as the speaker of the Pro-Nyesom Wike lawmakers, along with his 26 colleagues, had defected from the PDP to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, 2023.

This defection is documented in an affidavit deposed by Amaewhule for himself and his colleagues in suit number FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023, which is pending before Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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According to Iboroma, only the Federal High Court has the authority to determine whether the lawmakers are still members of the PDP and the Rivers State House of Assembly, as stipulated by Section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

He also noted that there is a substituting order of interlocutory injunction in suit number PHC/1512/CS/2024, restraining Amaewhule and his colleagues from acting as lawmakers in Rivers State pending the determination of the substantive suit. This order has not been appealed against.

Iboroma urged the public to disregard reports validating Amaewhule and the 26 others as members of the PDP and the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Contrarily, earlier on Monday, Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Rivers State High Court ruled that Amaewhule and the other lawmakers are still members of the PDP. Justice Gbasam stated that the claimants failed to prove that the lawmakers had defected to the APC.

He emphasized that party membership is only proven through a party’s register or membership card, and that television ceremonies or verbal statements were insufficient.

Justice Gbasam further held that the Rivers state government is bound to obey all laws passed by the Assembly, as the lawmakers’ names are still in the PDP’s membership register.

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

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