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Rivers Assembly: A’Court reserves judgement in appeal seeking to restore 25 vacant seats

Rivers

BY ANDREW OROLUA

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by a former speaker of the River State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule and 24 others against the Speaker, Victor Oko-Jumbo and five others.

The appellate court on Thursday adjourned for judgement after parties in the suit adopted all their briefs of arguments and other processes filed in the matter.

At the hearing which was conducted through virtual, Amaewhule and others prayed the appellate court to stay execution of a high court Judgement that sent them out of office and as well as further proceedings in the matter and to set aside all the decisions Jumbol-ed House of Assembly has taken while in office.

The appellants also asked for accelerated hearing in the matter and contended that the order made by the trial court was without jurisdiction.

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In their response, the respondents prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit on grounds that the records of appeal transmitted were incompetent.

After listening to the submission of the lawyers in the appeal, the three-man panel led by Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada reserved the judgment. He said the date of judgement would be communicated to the parties in the suit when it is ready.

The appellate court had in a ruling on June 14, ordered all parties in the suit to maintain status quo and cease every form of hostilities until the matter is heard and decided.

This was to lay to rest a motion ex-parte brought before the court by the appellants who were seeking reversal of a high court judgment that declared their seats vacant as lawmakers.

The appeal court also stopped the state high court or any other court from entertaining the matter until it is decided.

A Rivers State High Court, in Port Harcourt, had on May 10, 2024 stopped Martin Amaewhule from parading himself as Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court gave the order after considering a motion brought before it by the new factional Speaker of the House, Victor Jumbo and 2 others, to the effect that his seat had been declared vacant.

Justice Charles Wali, while ruling on the motion ex parte also barred 24 other members of the Assembly from accessing the complex or carrying out any such Legislative assignment in the name of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Dissatisfied with the verdict of the state high court, Amaewhule and others had approached the appellate court.

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