Re-present 2024 budget within 7 days, Pro-Wike lawmakers tell Fubara

The Rivers State House of Assembly led by Martin Amaewhule has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Siminalayi Fubara to re-present the 2024 budget to the House.

The order follows the first sitting of the pro-Wike House on Monday after some months. The other House led by Victor Oko-Jumbo is also holding a parallel sitting.

Fubara had earlier presented the budget to the House loyal to him when his current Chief of Staff Edison Ehie presided as the Speaker.

Ehie and the other pro-Fubara lawmakers passed the budget estimate and the governor signed the bill into law. He stated that it is aimed at promoting economic development, inclusive growth, and addressing socio-economic inequality in the state.

But with the recent development, the crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly seems to be far from abating.

Monday’s sitting by the Amaewhule-led Assembly after a long time comes on the heels of last week’s Court of Appeal judgement nullifying the expulsion of Amaewhule and 24 others from the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Rivers State High Court.

Justice Charles Wali had in May, while ruling on a motion exparte following a prayer brought before his court by Victor Oko Jumbo, issued an ex parte order barring Amaewhule and 24 other lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the state House of Assembly.

But last week Monday, a three-member panel of the appellate court held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the exparte order.

The court held that Section 272(3) of the Constitution gives the Federal High Court powers to determine whether the seat of a House of Assembly member has become vacant.

It held that the Federal High Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine if the seats have become vacant.

According to the court, the express mention of the Federal High Court in Section 272 (3) of the Constitution automatically excludes all state high courts from having the jurisdiction.

The appellate court held that the exparte order having been made without jurisdiction is null and void.

However, the speaker of the group Victo Oko-Jumbo in his opening remark during a plenary on Friday said that he and his members believed that the Appeal Court erred in its decision.

“We strongly believe that the Court of Appeal was in error when it held that the Rivers State High Court lacked the Jurisdiction to hear and determine SUIT NO PHC/1512/CS/2024,” he said.

“Accordingly, we have instructed our lawyers and they have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria Challenging the Judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered on the 4th Day of July 2024.”

Back to top button