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Court restrains Amaewhule, 25 pro-Wike assembly members from acting as Rivers lawmakers

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A state high court in Port Harcourt has granted an interim injunction restraining Martin Amaewhule from parading himself as a speaker of the Rivers house of assembly.

In a ruling delivered on Friday, Charles Wali, the presiding judge, also restrained 25 other assembly members from parading themselves as legislators.

The motion ex parte was filed by the factional speaker, Victor Jumbo and two assembly members — Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Timothy — loyal to Siminialayi Fubara, governor of Rivers.

The suit listed 25 lawmakers as 1st to 25th defendants and the governor of Rivers, the attorney-general, and the state’s chief judge as 26th to 28th defendants.

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In its ruling, the court stopped the governor, the attorney-general, and the chief judge from interacting with the affected lawmakers.

The order asked the lawmakers to “stop parading themselves as members of the assembly or conducting any legislative business as members of the house”.

The court also ordered them to “stop sitting at the auditorium of the house of assembly quarters located along Aba Road or any other place whatsoever to conduct business as members of the house of assembly”.

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The court further ordered “substituted service on the lawmakers within seven days from the date by substituted means to wit by pasting at the entrance gate of the Rivers state house of assembly legislative quarters”.

BACKGROUND

The Rivers house of assembly has been polarised since 2023 following the rift between Fubara and Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

In December, 27 members of the assembly defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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The Rivers assembly has 32 seats. One of the lawmakers, Dinebari Loolo, died in September 2023.

In October 2023, Ehie Edison was elected speaker of the factional assembly, after his removal as house leader by members led by Amaewhule — amid the plot to impeach Fubara.

Edison later resigned as a lawmaker to become chief of staff to the governor.

The lawmakers in the Amaewhule-led faction are loyal to Wike.

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However, Jumbo, the lawmaker representing the Bonny constituency, was elected factional speaker on Wednesday.

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