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Appeal Court declares Amaewhule the Speaker of RSHA, as Oko-Jumbo threatens to appeal the ruling

Written by silvernewsng

By Onyeche Wofurum Igwe

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has upheld the appeal of Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule and 24 others who approached the court challenging the decision of the Rivers State High Court, which favored Victor Oko-Jumbo, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

It can be recalled that Justice C.N Wali of the State High Court ruled in favour of Oko-Jumbo in a suit that restrained Amaewhule and twenty-four others from performing any legislative function and further declared their seats vacant, following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

An interlocutory injunction was also granted against Amaewhule & 24 Ors, which has now been consolidated in the appeal.

The three-judge panel of the Appeal Court: Jimi Olukayode Bada, Hamma Akawu Barka and Balkisu Bello Aliyu JJCA, in suit No: CA/PH/198/2024, the appellate Court held:

“That the plaintiffs had the rights to institute the appeal.”

“That the plaintiffs record of Appeal is not invalidated and thus have life.”

“That the Appeal Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“That the Court vested with Jurisdiction to entertain the suit of Hon. Oko Jumbo and others is the Federal High Court and not the State High Court.”

“That the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by the Respondent”

“That consequent upon the foregoing, the order of the trial court having been made without Jurisdiction is of no effect and is hereby declared null and void”

The Court held that only the Federal High Court and no other court has the jurisdiction to determine cases of tenures and vacancies of House of Assembly, Governors and President and not the State High Courts.

From the ruling, Appeal Court indicated that Martins Amaehule and Co truly defected and the issue of the jurisdiction of State High Court sacking them was what they only relied upon as they recognized only Federal High Court for such matters. The said matter can as well be taken back to Federal High Court for fresh case by any group or party and the doors are still open for appeal at Supreme Court.

Reacting to the ruling, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo has declared that he is appealing the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal on the jurisdiction of Rivers State High Court to hear the matter describing it as a miscarriage of justice.

Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo made this known on Friday at the sitting of the Assembly in Port Harcourt, saying that he has directed his legal team to urgently proceed to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling by the Appeal Court.

He averred that contrary to speculations, the Court of Appeal did not make any declaration that Martin Amaewhule & 24 others did not defect from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress neither did the Appeal Court also declare them as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The Speaker emphasised that there cannot be two Houses of Assembly in Rivers State or in any State in Nigeria, adding that Amaewhule and his team in spite of all their pretence are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly in line with the earlier declaration by the Rt. Hon. Ehie Edison which has not been vacated by any Court of competent jurisdiction.

“Once again, we, the legitimate Members of the RSHA hereby call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to promptly conduct a Bye Election to fill the vacant seats in the RSHA.”

“We strongly urge the general public to ignore Martin Amaewhule & 24 others in their pretence that they are members of the RSHA.”

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