Court prevents Fubara from withholding Rivers Assembly funds, removing clerk, others

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Siminalayi Fubara, the governor of Rivers State, and other parties have been restrained by a Federal High Court in Abuja from obstructing the State House of Assembly from performing its statutory duties and business. The court has described the State House of Assembly as a “constitutional institution that needs to be preserved” and has to continue operating.

The State Government was further prohibited by the Court from “withholding any amount standing to the credit of Rivers State House of Assembly in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Rivers State, including salaries and emoluments due and payable to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and other members of the 1st Plaintiff as well as the Clerk, Deputy Clerk, and other members of staff of the House.” The Court also restrained Governor Fubara from removing or transferring the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the House.

The affidavit supporting the motion exparte made it abundantly evident, according to Justice J.K. Omotosho, who issued the order in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023, that 25 of the 31 members of the State House of Assembly were present and doing House business.

Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) and M.A. Ebute (SAN) filed the lawsuit against the state governor, Sim Fubara, the Attorney General of the State, the Commissioner of Finance, the Accountant General, and the Rivers State Civil Service Commission on behalf of the Rivers State House of Assembly and its divided Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martine Chike Amaewhule.

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The National Assembly, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other officials are also named as defendants.

“That the affidavit in support of Motion Exparte shows that more than 2/3, or 25 out of 31 members of Rivers State House of Assembly, are sitting and transacting business,” the court declared, granting the order of interim injunction.that the Rivers State House of Assembly must be maintained as a constitutional institution while the Motion on Notice, dated November 29, 2023, is being considered.

As a result, the following directives are issued:

“An order of interim injunction prohibiting the first through fourteenth defendants, either individually or through their representatives, servants, or agents, from assuming the role, functions, or duties of the Rivers State House of Assembly in any way until the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, dated and filed November 29, 2023, is heard.

An order of interim injunction prohibiting the first through fourteenth defendants, either directly or through their representatives, servants, agents, or privies, from withholding funds from the Rivers State House of Assembly or from dealing in any way with funds intended for the House until the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, dated and filed November 29, 2023, is heard.

“An order of interim injunction prohibiting the 11th through 14th defendants, either directly or through their servants, agents, or privies, from controlling the appointment, removal, transfer, or general management of individuals appointed to the clerk, deputy clerk, or other staff positions of the first plaintiff, or from interfering in any way with the performance of the responsibilities or duties of those individuals until the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, dated and filed November 29, 2023, is heard and decided.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the 11th to 14th defendants, individually or through their servants, agents, and/or the executive arm of the Government of Rivers State, or collectively, from withholding any amount standing to the credit of the Rivers State House of Assembly in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Rivers State, including salaries and emoluments due and payable to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and other members of the 1st Plaintiff, as well as the Clerk, Deputy Clerk, and other House staff members. Or in any way depriving the Rivers State House of Assembly of the necessary funds to conduct its business until the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction

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