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 River Assembly crisis worsens, court wades in

River Assembly crisis worsens, court wades in

The Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, ordered the two factions of the Rivers State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo and suspend further deliberations until the matter before it is determined.

Factional Speaker, Edison Ehie, who is an ally of Governor Siminialayi Fubara, had approached the court, seeking an order to stop the Speaker of the pro-Nyesom Wike faction, Martin Amaewhule,  from presiding over the Assembly.

Ehie’s suit, marked FHC/PH/CS/240/2023, came up before  Justice Phoebe Ayua on Tuesday.

In a ruling on Tuesday, the judge made an order “directing that all parties on record respect the court and should not take any step concerning the subject matter, since the matter is already before this court –sub judice – pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

While adjourning till November 27 to hear the Motion on Notion, the judge directed “the plaintiffs/applicants to put the respondents on notice forthwith.”

The Rivers Assembly has been in a crisis and became factionalised since October 30 over an attempt by pro-Wike lawmakers to impeach Fubara.

An explosion had on the night of October 29 rocked the Assembly destroying multi-million naira valuables. The crisis degenerated as policemen allegedly teargassed the governor who visited the Assembly on the morning of October 30. The Assembly complex had since been under lock.

On Tuesday morning, policemen again took over the state Assembly complex, while members loyal to both factions allegedly held separate sittings at different locations.

Four police patrol vans were sighted at the entrance of the Assembly, while movements of people and vehicles along the Moscow Road area of the Assembly were restricted.

An Armoured Personnel Carrier was seen patrolling from one end of the road to the other, while scores of armed operatives manned strategic locations.

It was gathered that 25 lawmakers led by Amaewhule sat early on Tuesday.

The lawmakers reportedly deliberated on two items concerning the suspension of the strike by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria.

They also called on the state Commissioner for Police, Olatunji Disu, to investigate the October 29 explosion at the Assembly.

Also, the Ehie-led faction held a separate sitting where they passed a vote of confidence in Governor Fubara.

A statement signed by Ehie’s legislative aide, Ken Uchendu, said the House resolved to continuously give the governor the required support to accomplish his consolidation and continuity agenda to benefit the state.

 “Furthermore, the House impressed on the need for the Inspector-General of Police and other related security apparatus of the state to investigate these attacks and bring the culprits to book,” the statement added. (Punch)

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