A Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the passage of N800 billion budget for 2024 presented by the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Funbara to a faction of the State House of Assembly comprising only four members. Justice James Omotosho of the High Court’s also ordered Governor Fubara to resubmit the budget to the House
A Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the passage of N800 billion budget for 2024 presented by the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Funbara to a faction of the State House of Assembly comprising only four members.
Justice James Omotosho of the High Court’s also ordered Governor Fubara to resubmit the budget to the House of Assembly as it was duly constituted, upholding the lawsuit filed against Fubara by Speaker Martin Amaewhule and the Assembly, which sought an injunction to prevent the governor from impeding the Assembly while he was still speaker.
In December, amidst the ongoing political crisis in Rivers State, which resulted in the defection of 27 members of the state house of assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara presented a budget of N800 billion to the four remaining PDP members, headed by speaker, Edison Ehie.
The budget was then passed by the four lawmakers before President Bola Tinubu intervened in the state’s political crisis, asking both warring factions to sheath their swords by signing a memorandum of understanding, which resulted in Edison Ehie’s resignation as factional speaker and Amaewhule taking his position in the house.
Amaewhule and the defected lawmakers further approached the federal court in Abuja seeking that Governor Fubara to resubmit the budget before the House of Assembly under his leadership, they also sought an “order of injunction restraining the 1st to 10th defendants (NASS) from entertaining any request from the 11th defendant (Fubara) to take over the performance of the functions of Rivers Assembly, including its role to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Rivers in respect of matters that are within its constitutional and legislative competence.
“An order restraining Fubara including the 12th, 13th and 14th defendants from withholding any amount standing to the credit of Rivers Assembly in the state’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, including salaries and emoluments due and payable to the speaker, deputy speaker and other members of the house as well as to the clerk, deputy clerk and other members of staff of the assembly and an order of injunction restraining the respondents from denying the Assembly the due funds for running its affairs including the payment of salaries, allowances, emoluments and meeting its financial obligations no matter how described”
Judge Omotosho ruled that Funbara must resubmit the budget to the Amaewhule-led House of Assembly in order to prevent the governor from demolishing the state House of Assembly complex.
The court also ordered the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security to the Speaker and other legislators in the Rivers State Assembly, as well as an order that Fubara release all funds held in the House of Assembly’s credit to Martin Amaewhule, whom the Court considers to be the lawful Speaker of the Rivers State Assembly.