Court Restrains Rivers Assembly From Impeaching Fubara
Court Restrains Rivers Assembly From Impeaching Fubara
FCT Minister Wike however said that an impeachment is constitutional, not a coup.
Rivers State High Court sitting in Isiokpo Division in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the State, on Wednesday, issued an interim order restraining the Rivers State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House, Martin Amaewhule and others from carrying out any actions with respect to the plot to impeach Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
The restraining order came just as the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, warned those orchestrating propaganda and innuendoes against him to desist, saying he would not be intimidated.
He also declared that the move to impeach Fubara was not a military coup, saying the country’s constitution recognises impeachment of political actors.
THISDAY had reported that moves by 24 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to impeach the State Governor resulted in turbulence in the State on Monday, as the governor’s loyalists stormed the assembly complex in protest against the plot.
The matter in the court, which was registered in suit number IHC/230/CS/2023, was instituted by Damian Okoro (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria) on behalf of the governor.
Defendants in the suit included the Rivers State House of Assembly, Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Clark of RSHA and Chief Judge of the state, Justice Simeon Chibuzor-Amadi.
Presiding Judge, Justice Ben Whyte had issued the order following the suit filed against the defendants and directed that the parties should maintain status quo pending the determination of the Motion on Notice and thereafter adjourned to November 14, 2023, for motion on notice.
Parts of the order states: “An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants and their agents, privies, proxies and representatives from initiating, continuing or proceeding with the process of removal of the claimant from office as the Governor of Rivers State or howsoever interfering with and/or preventing the claimant from carrying out the duties and functions of his office as the Governor of Rivers State pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filed in this suit.
“Upon this Motion Exparte coming up before this Honourable Court for hearing and determination and after reading the Supporting Affidavit of Siminalayí Fubara filed on the 31 day of October, 2023 at the High Court Registry, Isiokpo and having listened to the submission of D. O. Okoro, with I. Mac-Barango of Counsel for the Claimant/Applicant. It is hereby ordered as follows:
“That the parties in this case maintain the status quo in this case by not doing anything in furtherance of the purported impeachment of the Applicant as the Governor of Rivers State pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.
“This case is adjourned to the November 14, 2023 for argument of the Motion on Notice”.
Meanwhile, a Magistrate court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted bail to state Chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Chijioke Ihunwo, Legal adviser to the council, Chidozie Emem and other 119 defendants who were standing trial on a five count charge.
The defendants who were arrested by the operatives of the State Police Command over protest to resist the impeachment of Fubara, are standing trial before a trial Magistrate, Gift Amadi.
They were charged for conspiracy, causing riot, damaging the house gate of the Speaker, RSHA, unlawful assembly and causing breach of public peace.
After an argument by parties in the matter, they were granted bail of N100,000 each, and to produce 20 sureties for all of them.
Earlier, one of the prosecuting lawyers, Eniyepere Sikpi, demanded that the defendants provide verifiable addresses as part of their bail condition. But the presiding Magistrate, Amadi said the defendants were granted bail on the ground that the offences are bailable.
The case was adjourned till December 5, 2023 for hearing.
However, Wike, on Wednesday, declared that the subtle move to impeach Fubara was not a military coup, saying the country’s constitution recognises impeachment of political actors.
He gave the warning on Wednesday, when a delegation of the PDP Governors’ Forum, led by Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, and accompanied by the Governors of Adamawa, Taraba and Plateau States, Ahmadu Fintiri, Agbu Kefas, and Caleb Muftwang, paid him a visit in his office in Abuja.
He said he was unruffled by the ongoing political shenanigans in Rivers State, warning that he does not lack the capacity to fight back.
He also dismissed outright the imputation that the crisis between him and Fubara was motivated by his alleged interest in the monies belonging to Rivers state, stressing that nobody could take away from him the political structure in the state.
“Nobody can intimidate me. If I want to do something, I will do it. Impeachment is not a military coup; it is provided under the constitution.
“I am not interested in all the rumours, money, this, and that. Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. I just left office how many months ago. And I’m FCT Minister, so which money?
“According to the FCT minister, “I hear they said I gave a limit of what he can do, I want 25 percent, these are ridiculous. I am not a political ingrate, but don’t touch the political structure in Rivers state, I will not shut my eyes.
“Nobody can take away our political structure. No one. You cannot work and people will begin to bring enemies, those who fought you when you were struggling for the person to be in office. Nobody does that. I’m not a political ingrate, but don’t touch the political structure of the state. I will not shut my eyes.” Wike warned.
The minister also vowed to continue to support the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, adding his conscience was clear in the discharge of his duties as FCT Minister.
He said the President’s vision was to appoint someone who would get the job done.
“Forget about the Obidients and the Atikus who have lost, and who felt that I did not support them. And those whom I revoked their C of Os.
“Oh Wike did this, Wike did that because I didn’t support Obi, I didn’t support their own presidential candidate, and all of you just teamed up ‘Wike, Wike, Wike’. All those things, I am not perturbed, I will do what is right.
“My conscience is clear. I am not the person you think that you will now go to social media and say all kinds of things. You must be careful, I have the capacity to fight back,” he declared.
“The president is our father, he has spoken we will see where it takes us , but no amount of propaganda. My conscience is clear nobody can rubbish me. I am not a person you can go to the social media and say all kinds of things and you go free, so be careful I have the capacity to fight back.’
Earlier in his remarks, Bala Mohammed, who is the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, expressed happiness that the crisis in Rivers State had been resolved.
Mohammed, who appreciated Tinubu for appointing Wike as FCT Minister, said the swiftness of the resolution showed the importance of the state as an economic enclave.
He said Wike’s antecedents as former Rivers State governor made him meritorious of the appointment.
reported that moves by 24 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to impeach the State Governor resulted in turbulence in the State on Monday, as the governor’s loyalists stormed the assembly complex in protest against the plot.
The PDP Governors’ Forum in a statement by its Director-General, Cyril Maduabum, disclosed that the decision to visit Wike was reached at the forum’s meeting on Tuesday.
Maduabum explained that the visit was for reconciliation and mediation purposes.
The governors arrived Wike”s office at 12.30 pm.
Before arriving at the Minister’s office, the PDP Governors had a meeting at the Rivers state governor’s lodge in Asokoro before heading to area eleven.
Meanwhile, inside details of the face-off between Wike and Fubara emerged as one of the media aides of the former governor while in office traced the crisis to what could be described as the quiet role of the penultimate governor of Rivers State, Mr Rotimi Amaechi in the evolving feud between Governor Simi Fubara and his immediate predecessor and godfather, Nyesom Wike has emerged.
Opunabo Inko-Tariah who served as media aide to Wike while governor of Rivers State revealed what he disclosed as the Amaechi factor on Wednesday morning as he also traced the crisis to the appointment of five new commissioners by Fabura without the approval of Wike.
Speaking on a television programme, Wednesday, monitored in Abuja, Inko-Tariah disclosed that Governor Fabura’s decision to restart the Songhai Farms initiated by Amaechi while governor but abandoned by Wike was a primary reason for the faceoff between the incumbent and preceding governors of the state.
Also speaking on Fabura’s decision to appoint new commissioners without Wike’s approval, he said:
“We also talk of the appointment of commissioners, about five of them, without getting clearance and the former governor was angry, how will you appoint commissioners without getting clearance. This was just the climax,” he said.
Meanwhile, traditional rulers, Ijaw elders and groups have called for peaceful and amicable settlement of the political crisis in Rivers State.
Chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom in Yenagoa Local government area, His Royal Majesty King Bubaraye Dakolo, the Second Vice President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Nengi James and other Ijaw groups including the Citizens for for the Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta (CSDND) and Ijaw National Development Group (INDG) all agreed that the warring factions in the crisis must come to an amicable and peaceful agreement for the sake of the people.
The Citizens for the Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta (CSDND) through its National Coordinator, Chief James Okpara, said: “It is too early for political actors to engage in show of strength and ego clash that will throw the state into chaos.”
He called on elders and political leaders from the state including Wike, to rise and intervene to put an immediate stop to the crisis rocking the state”
The INDG, also known as the Ijaw People’s Assembly (IPA) also called on political actors in Rivers State to consider the people before any action against the elected Governor of the State.
The Chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom in Yenagoa LG , King Bubaraye Dakolo, called on the warring factions to sheathe their swords in the interest of the people.
“The warring party should sheath their swords, that is what they need to do. I think when fight like this is happening, everyone should know that they are their to serve the people. And services to the people is paramount. It doesn’t matter what oath you take, or what agreement you had with individuals or group. As long as those agreements are not to serve the people.it’s illegal.
“So Governor or whoever that is wrestling with him, must know that the people of River State come first before any individual so the service and the direction of this settlements must be victorious, maximum service of the people of Rivers State.
“The governor of River state must ensure that the state is peaceful and in fact he does what will bring service to the people.”
He called on President Bola Tinubu to prevail on the Nigerian Police and other security agencies to do the right thing in Rivers State,
Also speaking, the Second Vice President of INC, Chief Nengi James also called on Rivers People to be calm and support Fubara.