From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dagogo Iboroma, has said there was no declaration to the effect that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA).

Iboroma said there was already a misleading news in circulation on social and conventional media that Amaewhule and others are PDP and RSHA members, stressing that the information is meant to deceive the public.

The Rivers State attorney general, therefore, urged the public to disregard such news already making the rounds on social, print, and electronic media, emphasising that the entirety of the news is not true and has no basis in law.

Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the attorney general said as the third defendant in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024, his attention was drawn to a recent judgment of the court to that effect.

He said the suit in question did not seek to declare the seats of Amaewhule and 26 others in Rivers State House of Assembly vacant.

Rather, he said: “The suit of the claimants was struck out for want of locus standi and jurisdiction and also for being an abuse of court process which robbed the trial court of jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.

“As you all know, Amaewhule and 26 others defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress on December 11, 2023, and stated that much in affidavit evidence deposed to by Amaewhule for himself and on behalf of 26 others in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023 before Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. The Suit is still pending in court.

“By Section 272 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is only the Federal High Court that can determine whether Amaewhule and 26 others are still PDP and RSHA members. This much was held by the trial court.

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“However, you will recall that there is a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction in Suit No. PHC/1512/CS/2024, restraining Amaewhule and his co-travellers from further parading or presenting themselves as lawmakers in Rivers State pending the determination of the substantive suit, which has not been appealed against till date.”

He, therefore, urged the public to disregard the fake news and misinformation presently making the rounds on social, print and electronic media to the effect that Amaewhule and 26 others have been declared as members of PDP and the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Earlier, it was reported that a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt affirmed that Amaewhule and the 26 other members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are still members of PDP.

Delivering judgment in Port Harcourt, yesterday, in a case seeking to declare the seats of 27 lawmakers vacant and filed by Hyacinth Amadi, Godspower Obuah, and Tonye Darius as claimants, Okogbule Gbasam held that the claimants failed to prove that the defendants, Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers had actually defected to the APC.

The court further held that membership of a party is only proven by being listed on the party’s register or by membership card and that television ceremonies and or verbal statements are not enough to show same.

Gbasam further held that the Rivers State government is bound to obey all laws passed by the Assembly as they are still members of the PDP; hence, their names are still in the PDP’s membership register as provided by the party.

He further posited that the state government is bound by the laws made by the Assembly as they are still members of the PDP and as the defendants have not lost their seats.

It was gathered that PDP had filed a motion to be joined in the case and were added as the fourth defendant.

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