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Rivers budget already signed into law — don’t cause crisis, PDP cautions pro-Wike lawmakers

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned members of the Rivers house of assembly loyal to Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), against causing a political crisis in the state. 

The PDP was responding to the seven-day ultimatum issued by members of the assembly loyal to the FCT minister.

During the plenary on Monday, the 27 lawmakers asked Fubara to resubmit the state’s 2024 budget within seven days.

The sitting followed a court of appeal judgment in Abuja dismissing the order of a Rivers high court which restrained the lawmakers from conducting legislative proceedings.

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The high court had restrained the lawmakers from carrying out legislative activities after they defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In December 2023, Fubara presented the state’s 2024 N800 billion budget estimate to the Edison Ehie-led faction of the house of assembly.

The Rivers governor presented the budget to five members of the Ehie-led faction amid the leadership crisis.

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Twenty-four hours later, Fubara signed the appropriation bill into law.

The Rivers assembly has been polarised over a power tussle between Wike and Fubara to control the state’s political structure.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Debo Ologunagba, PDP spokesperson, asked the lawmakers to “desist from actions and utterances that are capable of disrupting peace and governance” in Rivers state.

“The party counsels the former lawmakers to wake up to the reality that they are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly by virtue of the self-executory provision of Section 109 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and, as such, cannot gather or issue any notice to the State Governor in the capacity of members of Rivers State House of Assembly,” the statement reads.

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“PDP’s caution is coming against the backdrop of a purported seven-day ultimatum issued by the former lawmakers from an unknown location to Governor Siminialayi Fubara to re-present the 2024 Rivers State budget, which has already been passed and signed into law.

“This action by these individuals seeking to assume the powers of the Rivers House of Assembly is apparently with the intention to cause a crisis, undermine, and disrupt the democratic and constitutional order in the state in clear violation of section 1 sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Having irretrievably lost their seats upon their defection from the PDP, the political party platform upon which they were elected into the Rivers state house of assembly, they cannot enjoy the powers, rights, privileges, recognition, and obligations of members of the Rivers state house of assembly.”

The PDP asked Kayode Egbetokun, the inspector-general of police (IGP), “to note the subversive action of these former lawmakers and take immediate action to protect the institutions of democracy, peace, and security in Rivers state”

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