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Bulldozers bring down Rivers State House of Assembly Complex

Bulldozers bring down Rivers State House of Assembly Complex

Bulldozers reportedly descended on the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex Wednesday morning to demolish the legislative structure following a lingering political crisis in the state.

The bulldozers were seen bringing down the Assembly structure.

This is coming barely 24 hours after a Rivers State High Court recognised Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s loyalist, Ehie as the Speaker of the House pending the determination of the substantial suit before it.

On Monday, the strained relationship between former governor Nyesome Wike and his successor Fubara worsened when 27 lawmakers in the state Assembly loyal to Wike out of 32 defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Lingering political crises

The state was enveloped in confusion, following an order of the state High Court recognising the former Majority Leader, Edison Ehie, as Speaker and restraining Speaker Martins Amaewhule, and 26  other lawmakers from conducting further legislative business at the Assembly complex.

The court presided over by Justice M.W Danagogo gave the order after hearing an experte motion filed by the first claimant, Rivers State House of Assembly and the Second Claimant,  Ehie, who identified himself as the Speaker of the House.

Joined as  the first and second defendants in the suit are Amaewhule and the Deputy Speaker,  Dumle Maol.

But, the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), rejected the ex-parte injunction, threatening to report the judge to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Rivers State was hit by crisis last month when part of the Assembly Complex was set ablaze.

Following the escalation of the rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike, the Assembly was polarised.

While 27 lawmakers, led by Amaewhule, queued behind the minister, five led by Ehie, supported the governor.

Although President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has intervened in the imbroglio,  the five estranged members have refused to return to the House.

On Tuesday, the 27 lawmakers defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) at plenary.

Ehie, in the motion prepared by D.I Iboroma (SAN) and others, had prayed the court to order Amaewhule and others to stop entering the Assembly complex until the burnt hallowed chamber was fully renovated by the state government.

He also asked the court to order that he should lawfully take over the leadership of the Assembly, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Ehie also prayed that Amaewhule should be stopped from parading himself as the Speaker of the House.

Court order

The court in an Interim order granted the first prayer and ordered Amaewhule and others to stop using the Assembly premise for their sitting, pending the renovation of the facility.

However, the judge stated that Ehie would pay N50m as damages if the application before the court turned out to be frivolous.

The court asked the claimants to serve the Interim order, the motion on notice already filed, the originating process and other processes in the suit on the defendants on or before today, December 13, 2023.

The court granted leave to the claimants to serve the processes by substituted means, by publication in two national newspapers, or by pasting at a conspicuous part of the last known address of the defendants.

Justice Danagogo adjourned till 21 December for further hearing in the case.

 

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