New Telegraph

Court declares Rivers’ N800bn 2024 Budget illegal

The presentation and passage of the Rivers State 2024 Budget by the fourmember Ehie Edison-led House of Assembly was yesterday described as an aberration and was voided and set aside by a Federal High Court in Abuja on grounds of illegality and unconstitutionality The Court in its judgment also ruled that Hon Martin Amaewhule, leader of the 25 legislators loyal to the former governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, is the lawful and authentic Speaker of the House of Assembly The trial judge, Justice James Omotosho, in a suit instituted against the National Assembly, Governor Siminalaye Fubara and others, held that Fubara acted like a tyrant in the ways and manners the House of Assembly was demolished and its funds from the Consolidated Account withheld. Among others, Justice Omotoso ordered the governor Fubara to represent the budget to the legally constituted House of Assembly under Amaewhule.

The Judge held that the meeting of the four legislators where the budget was purportedly passed as a nullity and of no effect whatsoever. Justice Omotosho said that the presentation of the budget by the governor to the four lawmakers was contempt to his order issued against him from taking any action on the House of Assembly because of the pendency of the suit. He quashed the withholding of the House of Assembly funds by Fubara on the ground that he has no constitutional power to do so and ordered him to immediately release the funds to the Amaewhule leadership. The court restrained Governor Fubara from frustrating the House of Assembly under Amaewhule from sitting or interfering in the affairs of the House.

Justice Omotosho also faulted the redeployment of the Clerk and Deputy Clerk out of the House of Assembly done by the governor as an affront to the principle of separation of power and was declared null and void and set aside. The court also ordered the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk to resume office in the House of Assembly immediately and unhindered. The Inspector General of Police and his agents were ordered to immediately give adequate security to the Speaker and legislators loyal to Wike. The National Assembly was barred from taking over the Rivers State House of Assembly or accept or treat any request from Governor Fubara to any effect.

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