Court Nullifies NASS Take Over Of Rivers’ Assembly Functions

Ameachi-RiversAn Abuja Federal High Court yesterday nullified the purported takeover of the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly by the National Assembly.
The National Assembly had following a bloody clash in July between legislators loyal to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and others perceived to be loyal to a serving Minister, which led to a closure of the Assembly complex, took over its functions in accordance with Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, until peace is restored.
The National Assembly had also directed the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to redeploy the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Joseph Mbu, who was accused of playing a partisan role in the crisis in the state.
But the court, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, granted an injunction restraining the National Assembly from assuming the law-making functions of the state assembly.
The court also ruled that the National Assembly lacks the powers to order the IGP to redeploy Mr. Mbu.
It also nullified the resolution passed by the Senate directing its Committee on States and Local Governments to investigate the rift between the Governor Amaechi and Mbu and the crisis rocking the rivers state house of assembly.
The court’s ruling was sequel to a suit filed by two indigenes of Rivers State – Tamunoteim Asobari and John Kpakol – challenging the decision of the National Assembly to take over the functions of the state assembly.
The Senate, the Senate President, the House of Representatives and its Speaker, the IGP, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on States and Local Government, the Attorney General of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly and its Speaker were listed as the defendants in the suit.
Justice Mohammed, in his ruling on Wednesday held that the FHC Abuja had the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
He equally held that the plaintiffs, who contended that they were indigenes of Rivers State, who voted for members of the state assembly, had the locus standi to file the suit.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ade Okeaya-Inneh, hailed the court’s verdict but the defendant’s lawyer declined comment as he left the court premises almost immediately.