SPOTLIGHTS

  • Iboroma refutes reports of a court declaration on lawmakers’ PDP membership
  • Clarifies that different court case will determine their party affiliation
  • The Attorney-General highlights pending suit challenging their lawmaker status
  • Urges public to disregard misleading news circulating
  • Maintains that Amaewhule and the 26 others remain recognized lawmakers

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

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

Iboroma stated that misleading news circulating on social and conventional media suggests that Amaewhule and others are members of the PDP and RSHA, stressing that the information is intended to deceive the public.

The Rivers State Attorney-General, therefore, urged members of the public to disregard such news, emphasising that it is untrue and baseless in law.

Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, the Rivers State Attorney-General said that, as the third defendant in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024, his attention was drawn to a recent judgement of the court.

Iboroma explained that the suit in question did not seek to declare the seats of Martin Amaewhule and the 26 others in the 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, Martins Amaewhule and 26 others defected from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress on the 11th Day of December, 2023, and stated that much in affidavit evidence deposed to by Martins Amaewhule for himself and on behalf of 26 others in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023 before Hon. Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. The Suit is still pending in court.”

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The Rivers State Attorney-General explained further: “By Section 272 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is only the Federal High Court that can determine whether Martins Amaewhule and 26 others are still members of Peoples Democratic Party and also members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. This much was held by the trial court.

“However, you will recall that there is a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction in Suit No.
PHC/1512/CS/2024, restraining Martins 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 circulating on social, print and electronic media that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others have been declared members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Earlier, it was reported that a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt affirmed that Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other members of the Rivers State House of Assembly are still members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Delivering judgement in Port Harcourt earlier on Monday, in a case seeking to declare the seats of 27 lawmakers vacant and filed by Hyacinth Amadi, Godspower Obuah, and Tonye Darius as claimants, Justice Okogbule Gbasam held that the claimants failed to prove that the defendants, Martin 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 the same.

Justice 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 the PDP had filed a motion to be joined in the case and were added as the fourth defendant.


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