A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt has declared the seats of 25 lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly vacant. The court also ordered Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule to stop parading as the Speaker. The ruling was delivered by Hon. Justice Charles Wali in Suit No. PHC/1512/CS/2024, filed by Rt. Hon. Victor Oko Jumbo, current Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, along with Hon. Sokari Goodboy Sokari and Hon. Orubienimigha Adolphus Timothy, amidst ongoing legislative crises in the state.

The defendants include Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule, Hon. Dumle Maol, Hon. Major Jack, Hon. Franklin Uchenna Nwabochi, Hon. Christopher Kagbang Ofiks, Hon. Azeru Opara, Hon. Enemi Alabo George, Hon. Granville Tekenari Wellington, Hon. Ngbar Bernard, Hon. John Dominic Iderima, Hon. Queen Uwuma Tony Williams, Hon. Loolo Isaiah Opuende, Hon. Abbey Peter, Hon. Igwe-Obey Aforji, Hon. Justina Emeji, Hon. Ignatius Onwuka, Hon. Chimezie Nwankwo, Hon. Lemchi Prince Nyeche, Hon. Barile Nwakoh, Hon. Emilia Lucky Amadi, Hon. Nkemjika Ezekwe, Hon. Davids Arnold Okobiriari, Hon. Nwankwo Sylvanus, Hon. Gerald Oforji, and Hon. Wami Solomon.

Governor Sir Siminalayi Fubara and Honourable Chief Judge of Rivers State, Simeon Amadi, were also defendants in the suit.

Justice Wali issued an interlocutory order preventing the lawmakers, who are pro-Nyesom Wike, Minister of Federal Capital Territory, from acting as legislators until the substantive case is resolved. The court’s order reads:

“An Order of Interlocutory Injunction is granted restraining the 1st to 25th Defendants from parading and holding out themselves as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and/or meeting/sitting at the Auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters located at Aba Road; Port Harcourt, or at any other place whatsoever to purport to carry out the legislative business of the Rivers State House of Assembly, their legislative seats having been declared vacant pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

The order also restrains the 26th to 28th Defendants from engaging with any resolutions, bills, or actions from the 1st to 25th Defendants, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), effectively declaring their seats vacant from December 13, 2023.

The case has been adjourned to July 1, 2024, for further mention.