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Demand by Rivers Assembly on Fubara to re-present 2024 budget stirs legal controversy

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Demand by Rivers Assembly on Fubara to re-present 2024 budget stirs legal controversy

Factional Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly Martin Amaewhule presiding over the meeting at the auditorium at the auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters at Port Harcourt-Aba Road, Port Harcourt on Thursday morning.

Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Some legal practitioners in Rivers have faulted the demand by the Martin Amaewhule-led State House of Assembly that Governor Siminalayi Fubara should re-present the 2024 budget earlier passed by a four-member faction led by Edison Ehie for fresh consideration and passage.

The lawmakers loyal to former governor Nyesom Wike made the demand during their sitting last Tuesday.

The representation of the budget which was signed into law after it was passed by the Ehie-led lawmakers by Fubara was one terms of the peace deal between the Rivers State Governor and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike brokered by President Bola Tinubu.

However, a human rights lawyer and Convener People’s Advocate, Courage Nsirimovu said the demand is illegal and unconstitutional. He said his organization has sought a Court order to stop the Governor from acting on the Eight-point peace agreement brokered by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu e between Wike and Fubara.

“We have filed a suit to restrain the Governor from from implementing the unconditional resolution reached at Abuja. If the Governor of Rivers State accedes to the demand of the defected lawmakers, he will cause a grave constitutional crisis in the state. If he yields, then River State will not have a budget because a budget passed by an illegal assembly will be null and void”.

Also, Eugene Odey, a lawyer while speaking on the Port Harcourt-based radio Nigeria infofm said Civil Society Organizations have filed a suit stopping Fubara from releasing money to the defected lawmakers as they have ceased to be lawmakers in the state.

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Odey argued in the eyes of the law, only three Lawmakers who are loyal to Governor Fubara are constitutionally recognized in the state Assembly even with the recent resignation of Edison Ehie from the House as a Lawmaker.

He said that at the time the budget was passed by Edison Ehie-led lawmakers a day after Governor Fubara presented it on December 13, 2023, they were the only ones recognized by law as the authentic lawmakers because the other 27 had already defected and abandoned their political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the APC

Also, speaking on a radio program, Professor Richard Wokocha, a law Lecturer and Professor of Constitutional Law, explained that from the points of Law and the defection of the Martin Amaewhule-led faction of Lawmakers from PDP to APC, they automatically vacated their seats and are no more lawmakers.

He pointed out that unless a competent court rules otherwise, members of the Martin Amaewhule-led faction have ceased to be lawmakers.

Meanwhile, another Lawyer, Blessing Ejekwu, disagreed that the Martin Amaewhule-led faction of Rivers Assembly is illegal and has no legal right to sit and demand the representation of the budget.

Speaking on the Nigeria infofm radio station, Ejekwu points out that points out that Amaewhule lead group had already obtained court orders that extended their powers to sit and that fate the Fate of the lawmakers will be decided on January 22nd by the Abuja High Court. He argued that for now, there is no legal impediment against their function as lawmakers.

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