Rivers crisis: Coalition faults Appeal Court ruling reinstating 27 lawmakers


The National Democratic Coalition, NDC, has expressed dissatisfaction with the Appeal Court judgement which reinstated 24 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Saga Gist reports that a state High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had on May 30, 2024 restrained 25 members of the Assembly who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from parading themselves as lawmakers.

However, the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly members approached the Appeal Court, seeking to set aside the High Court’s verdict.

Ruling on the matter on Thursday, the appellate court dismissed the High Court order.

A three-member panel of the court ruled that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the ex parte order.

Reacting to the judgement, the coalition in a statement by its Executive Director, Dr Samson Iroegbunam, said the “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) expressly stated that the lawmakers forfeited their seats by defecting to a political party other than the one on which platform they were elected”.

The Coalition declared that the reinstatement of the lawmakers was “against the rule of law, undemocratic, antithetical, retrogressive and provocative to the point of further jeopardising the fragile peace in the state”.

It said the ruling, given its controversial nature, has again “heightened concerns about the raging allegations that have been made against the Judiciary”

“The Appeal Court has now created new complications with the judicial precedence it has set instead of giving rulings that stabilise Nigeria’s democracy and enhance the rule of law.

“Nigerians should stand up to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which in Section 109. (1) (g) clearly stated that ‘A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected,” the statement added

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