Pro-Wike Rivers Assembly hands Fubara 7-Day ultimatum to re-present 2024 budget

Leah TwakiJuly 8, 20244 min

Governor Fubara has been given a seven-day ultimatum to re-present the 2024 budget before the Pro-Wike Rivers Assembly led by Amaewhule 

Pro-Wike Rivers Assembly hands Fubara 7-Day ultimatum to re-present 2024 budget

In a dramatic turn of events, the Rivers State House of Assembly, which is currently split into two opposing factions, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Siminialayi Fubara to re-present the 2024 budget.

The demand was made during a session led by Martin Amaewhule, Speaker loyal to the immediate past governor and Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, on Monday in Port Harcourt.

 Background

The power struggle within the Rivers State House of Assembly has intensified following a recent Court of Appeal judgement in Abuja. The court nullified an order from the Rivers State High Court that had previously barred Martin Amaewhule and 24 other legislators from operating as lawmakers. Despite this ruling, a coalition of federal lawmakers, spearheaded by Rep. Ikenga Ugochinyere and known as the G60, has argued that the original declaration invalidating the seats of these 25 legislators remains effective, pending any overriding court decision.

 Earlier Developments

Governor Fubara had earlier submitted a budget proposal amounting to approximately N800 billion for the 2024 fiscal year. This budget was presented to a faction of the House that was then led by Edison Ehie, who has since resigned his position as Speaker to become the Chief of Staff to the Governor. Ehie’s faction reviewed, passed, and saw the budget signed into law by the governor.

However, on Monday, Amaewhule’s faction, during their resumed sitting, passed a resolution that demanded the governor re-present the budget. This resolution followed a motion by Deputy Speaker and House Committee Chairman, Dumle Mao. Amaewhule’s faction voted in favor of the motion and agreed to formally communicate their decision to Governor Fubara via a letter.

Parallel Assembly Actions

Simultaneously, a parallel session was held by the faction loyal to Governor Fubara, led by Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo. During this session, the assembly screened and confirmed a commissioner nominee Emmanuel Frank-Fubara as a Commissioner in Rivers State.

Judicial Intervention

In a related development responding to the earlier action of 7-Day ultimatum handed to Governor Fubara by the Martins Amaewhule-led state House of Assembly, a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt issued an ex parte order of interim injunction on Monday, barring the Chief Judge of the state and the Clerk of the state House of Assembly from dealing with the Martins Amaewhule-led state House of Assembly. The order, issued by Justice Jumbo Stephen, also prevented them from dealing with Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Assembly and from acting on any resolutions, articles of impeachment, or communications from them.

The suit, marked PHC/2177/CS/2024, was filed by the Attorney General of the state and Governor Siminialayi Fubara against Amaewhule and 26 others as the first set of defendants, and Victor Oko-Jumbo, the Chief Judge of the State, the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, and the Peoples Democratic Party as the second set of defendants.

The court ordered all parties to maintain the status quo ante litem as of July 5, 2024, until the motion for an interlocutory injunction is heard and determined.

The order read, “That an order of interim injunction is hereby made restraining the 31st and 32nd defendants from dealing or howsoever relating with the first to 27th defendants as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and from receiving, forwarding or howsoever acting on any resolutions, articles of impeachment or order of the defendants pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction already filed herein.

“That the parties to this suit are hereby directed to maintain the status quo ante litem in this suit as at 5th July 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction already filed herein.

“An order is hereby made for substituted service of the originating and other processes in this suit on the 1st-30th defendants by pasting the same at Quarters, opposite former NDDC headquarters, off Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”

The court adjourned the case until July 15, 2024, for the motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction.

Leah Twaki

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