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Falana to defected Rivers lawmakers: You are no longer assembly members

"The 25 lawmakers who defected have lost their seats. They have lost their rights to remain members of the assembly. That is the law"

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Falana to defected Rivers lawmakers: You are no longer assembly members

“The 25 lawmakers who defected have lost their seats. They have lost their rights to remain members of the assembly. That is the law”

A legal luminary, Mr. Femi Falana, has said members of the Rivers state house of assembly who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have lost their seats.

According to Falana, lawmakers could not defect from the party on which platform they were elected to the APC and still remain members of the house.

Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday, the Lagos lawyer said the defectors will have to prove that there was division in their previous party — the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“The 25 lawmakers who defected have lost their seats. They have lost their rights to remain members of the assembly. That is the law.

“In the case of Adetunde and the Labour Party, the Supreme Court made it clear that you cannot decamp and then remain a member of a legislative house in Nigeria unless you can show that there is division in your party. Today, the PDP is one,” he said.

Since 2023, a confrontation between Gov. Siminalayi Fubara and his godfather and predecessor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who is currently Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has engulfed the legislature in crisis.

In December 2023, at least 25 lawmakers in the assembly who are loyal to Wike defected from the PDP to the APC.

The Rivers Assembly has 32 seats. One of the lawmakers, Dinebari Loolo, died in September 2023.

In October 2023, Ehie Edison was elected speaker of the factional assembly after his removal as house leader by members led by Martin Amaewhule amid the plot to impeach Fubara.

Edison later resigned as a lawmaker to become the governor’s chief of staff.

Amaewhule, the factional speaker, leads the lawmakers who support Wike.

Last Monday, Fubara said members of the House of Assembly owe their existence to him.

Days later, legislators loyal to Fubara elected Victor Jumbo, the lawmaker representing the Bonny constituency, as speaker.

Only three lawmakers are in the Jumbo-led faction, including the factional speaker.

Last Thursday, Amaewhule alleged that Fubara was planning to demolish the assembly quarters after a visit by the governor.

The assembly quarters serve as the hallowed chamber and official residence of lawmakers in the Amaewhule-led faction.

 

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