Rivers Assembly Speaker Challenges Court Ruling, Files Appeal to Supreme Court

By Helen Okechukwu, JKNMedia Reporter, Port Harcourt

CONTESTING THE Appeal Court’s recent ruling in Port Harcourt, Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt Hon Victor Oko-Jumbo, has announced the filing of an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Oko-Jumbo asserted that the Assembly believes the Court of Appeal erred in its judgment, which stated that the Rivers State High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine SUIT NO. PHC/1512/CS/2024.

Addressing lawmakers during a plenary session at the temporary legislative facility in Port Harcourt, Oko-Jumbo reaffirmed his position as the legitimate Speaker, insisting that there cannot be two Houses of Assembly in Rivers State.

He emphasized that the seats of Rt Hon Martin Amaewhule and 24 other former lawmakers remain vacant following their defection from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, 2023.

This declaration was made by then-Speaker Rt Hon Edison Ehie on December 13, 2023.

Oko-Jumbo explained that the Assembly had obtained a restraining order against Amaewhule and the 24 others after their defection, as they continued to parade as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Dissatisfied with the Rivers State High Court’s rulings, Amaewhule and his colleagues filed an appeal (No. CA/PH/198/2024) at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division.

On July 4, 2024, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Rivers State High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case, striking out Suit No. PHC/1512/CS/2024.

Oko-Jumbo emphasized that the Court of Appeal did not declare that Amaewhule and the others did not defect from the PDP to APC or that they remain members of the Assembly.

He reiterated that the Assembly believes the Court of Appeal was in error and has instructed lawyers to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

During the plenary session, the Assembly considered two bills: the Rivers State Emergency Management Agency Bill, 2024, presented by House Leader Hon Sokari Goodboy, and the Rivers State Transport Company Reform Bill, 2024, sponsored by Deputy Speaker Hon Adolphus Orubienimigha.

Both bills moved through the first reading.

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