25 Defected Rivers Lawmakers To Know Fate Thursday

By Johnson Nwankwo

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has fixed Thursday, July 4, to deliver judgment on the appeal filed by 25 defected Rivers Assembly pro-Wike lawmakers led by Martin Amaewhule against the ruling of a state High Court restraining them from parading themselves as members of the Assembly.

A three-man panel of the appeal court, headed by Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, on June 20, reserved judgment in the suit after the adoption of briefs and conclusion of defence in the proceeding conducted virtually.

Recall that Justice Charles N. Wali, the presiding judge of the Rivers State High Court, had on May 10 and 30, granted an order restraining the 25 lawmakers from the State House of Assembly.

Speaker Victor Oko-Jumbo and two others, including Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Timothy, had in a suit filed through their lawyers, B. N. Owunabo, Esq., K. O. Ogunjobi, Esq, B. S. Orupabo, Esq, 0. J. Ifejika, Esq. and T. Aprioku, Esq., argued that Amaewhule and 24 other defected lawmakers ceased to be members of the Rivers State House of Assembly since December 13 when their seats were declared vacant.

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The 25 lawmakers announced their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, 2023. Subsequently, the Rivers Assembly led by former Speaker Edison Ehie on December 13, declared their seats vacant following their defection.

But in an appeal No.CAs/PH/198/2024, filed by the 25 lawmakers against Oko-Jumbo and five others, the appellants are seeking to set aside the order of the lower court for want of jurisdiction.

They are praying the appellate court to stay the execution of the High Court order that restrained them as lawmakers of the Rivers Assembly.

Recall that the appellate court had on June 14, ordered the two parties in the Rivers State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo and suspend further actions until the determination of the case before it.

The three-member panel of the appellate court include Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, and Justice Balikisu Bello Aliyu.

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