Rivers Crisis: Court Reserves Judgment In Amaewhule’s Appeal

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved its judgment in the high-stakes appeal involving Martin Amaewhule, a former speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, and 24 other appellants against the current Speaker, Victor Oko-Jumbo, and five other respondents.

This decision follows a virtual hearing on Thursday where both parties presented their final arguments.

Amaewhule and his co-appellants are challenging a ruling by a Rivers State High Court that resulted in their removal from office. 

They are seeking a stay of execution on this high court judgment, which not only ousted them but also sought to invalidate any decisions made by Oko-Jumbo during his tenure. 

Furthermore, they demand an accelerated hearing, arguing that the trial court’s order was issued without proper jurisdiction.

In response, Oko-Jumbo and his legal team have called for the dismissal of the appeal, labeling it as lacking in merit. 

They contend that the records of appeal presented by Amaewhule’s camp were incomplete and therefore invalid.

Following the submissions from both sides, the three-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Jimi Olukayode-Bada, decided to reserve judgment. 

The date for this judgment will be communicated to the involved parties in due course.

The backdrop to this appeal is rooted in the appellate court’s earlier ruling on June 14, which mandated that all parties maintain the status quo and cease hostilities until the matter is resolved. 

This directive came in response to a motion ex parte filed by Amaewhule and others, seeking a reversal of the high court’s decision that had declared their legislative seats vacant.

This legal struggle began on May 10, 2024, when the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt issued an order preventing Martin Amaewhule from continuing to act as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. 

The court’s decision followed a motion brought by Victor Jumbo and two others, asserting that Amaewhule’s seat, along with those of 24 other Assembly members, had been declared vacant.

Justice Charles Wali, ruling on this motion ex parte, also barred these 24 Assembly members from accessing the legislative complex or performing any official legislative duties under the banner of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Dissatisfied with the high court’s verdict, Amaewhule and his supporters promptly took their case to the Court of Appeal, hoping for a more favorable outcome.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the  appellate court’s final decision will be crucial in determining the future leadership and legislative direction of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

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