A Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, has issued an order directing the two factions in the Rivers State House of Assembly to maintain status quo ante bellum and suspend further deliberations until the matter before it is dispensed with.
A factional Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, had in a suit No: FHC/PH/CS/240/2023, approached the Court presided over by Hon. Justice Phoebe Ayua, praying the court to stop Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule and the other lawmakers from presiding over the activities of the legislative arm of the state government.
The Notice was filed together with the main suit by Ehie, as the new Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the House of Assembly.
The plaintiffs in the suit are Rivers State House of Assembly, as first plaintiff, and Rt. Hon. (Barr) Ehie Ogerenye Edison (Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly) as second plaintiff.
The defendants are the factional Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Martins Chike Amaewhule, Rt. Hon. Dumle Maol (former Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly), the Inspector-General of Police, Director, Department of State Security Services, Rivers State, and Commissioner of Police, Rivers State.
Ruling on the motion filed in the suit, Justice Ayua ordered that none of the parties on record should do anything about the matter since all the parties are expected to respect the court.
The order reads in part: “That an Order is made directing the Plaintiffs/applicants to put the Respondents on Notice forthwith.
“That an Oder is however, made, directing that all parties on record respect the Court and should not take any step concerning the subject matter, since the matter is already before this Court – Sub judice – pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
In the suit, the factional Speaker Ehie and the House of Assembly itself, was seeking, amongst others, a declaration that the former speaker and his former deputy, having been removed and suspended from the House, are not entitled to participate, disturb, interfere or obstruct the performance of the legislative proceedings of the House and the legislative duties of the new speaker in accordance with the provisions of Sections 90 to 104 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
They also sought for an order restraining the former two principal officers of the House from interfering or participating in the functions of the House of Assembly.
After entering the order, the court fixed for hearing the motion on notice on the November 27, 2023.
It will be recalled that following some disagreement arising from the attempt by a factional leadership of the House to impeach the State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, the Rivers State House of Assembly has been facing some leadership crisis leading to the removal of the former speaker and the election of Edison as the new speaker.