Home Nigeria Peace deal: Rivers Assembly withdraws Fubara impeachment notice

Peace deal: Rivers Assembly withdraws Fubara impeachment notice

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This was as the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, on Wednesday, confirmed the authenticity of Fubara’s signature on the resolution document signed during the meeting with Tinubu in Abuja.

The commissioner, who appeared on Channels Television programme monitored by our correspondent on Wednesday, said the governor would be implementing the agreement reached because he was committed to the process of peace.

“There is nothing to doubt about it. We have gone beyond the issue as to who signed, and who didn’t sign. The Bible that we all profess says we should pursue peace with all men at all costs. Mr Governor is a stickler for rules.

“And if His Excellency, the President has intervened; he (Fubara) is not a man of perfidy. He will not say something and do another. In the next couple of hours, I will be unveiling some of the approvals His Excellency has already given as an indication that he is prepared for peace,” Johnson.

He maintained that Fubara’s agreement to the resolution was not a show of weakness.

Meanwhile, the pro-Wike lawmakers, led by the Speaker. Martin Amaewhule said they withdrew the impeachment notice against Fubara because of the President’s intervention.

They also said they would continue to perform their constitutional functions of law-making and oversight for the development of the state.

This was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, signed by the media aide to the Speaker, Martins Wachukwu.

The statement read: “The Rivers State House of Assembly, at its 89th Legislative Sitting, on Wednesday, in the Auditorium of the House of Assembly quarters on Aba Road, which was converted to a hallowed chamber via a motion at its last plenary, has withdrawn the impeachment notice served on the Governor of the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara.”

Meanwhile, Rivers elders and leaders, including a former governor, Chief Rufus Ada-George, and a former deputy governor, Sir Gabriel Toby, on Wednesday, criticised Tinubu’s intervention in the Rivers crisis, describing it as executive rascality.

The elders expressed worry that the intervention of the President might have worsened the crisis in the state.

The forum stated this in a communiqué read to newsmen after an emergency meeting on Tuesday night in Port Harcourt.

Aside from the aforementioned, the communiqué was also signed by former military administrators of Rivers and Cross River State, Godwin Abbey and Ibim Princewill, former spokesman for the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Sara-Igbe, second Republic Senator, Bennett Birabi, Niger Delta activist, Ms. Annkio Briggs, among others.

The elders, according to the communiqué, said Tinubu’s directives for the resolution of the political impasse in the state contravened the constitution.

It read: “The directives unilaterally suspended the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by virtue of an attempt to reverse a court order recognising Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie as the speaker and directing that the remainder of the members of the House of Assembly constituted the quorum for legislative business.

“That the directive also contravenes the hallowed doctrine and practice of separation of Powers, particularly as it affects the responsibility of the judiciary.

“Can Mr President or the executive arm of government overrule the decisions of courts of competent jurisdiction?

“This portends executive rascality which undermines our constitutional democracy, rule of law and good governance.

“The directives to the parties were one-sided in favour of Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and at the detriment of the Governor, Siminialayi Fubara and the good people of Rivers State.

“In the eyes of the law and due process, as evidenced by the Rivers State High Court decision, that the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule and his team have ceased to exist in the state House of Assembly having defected to another political party, and therefore cannot be reinstated and remunerated through the back door.

“It is the duty of the Executive arm of Government to provide accommodation for legislators in a constitutional democracy as exemplified by the FCT Minister with respect to the National Assembly.

“It is therefore hypocritical to suggest that the Rivers State House of Assembly under Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule could sit anywhere of their choice, whereas, in Abuja, it is the FCT Minister, on behalf of the executive arm that provides accommodation for Federal Legislators.

“The very reason why the FCT Minister was referred to as the ‘Landlord of Abuja’ by Mr. President at the presentation of the 2024 budget.

“The directive to re-present the budget passed and signed into law is a clear attempt to ridicule and denigrate the office of the Governor and the good people of Rivers State, including the Judiciary.

“In Public Administration parlance, a person can exit service either by resignation, sack, voluntary retirement or death. It is therefore preposterous for the President to direct that the people who have exited service for personal reasons be re-absorbed.

“The Forum enjoined all responsible citizens of Rivers State to rise up in this moment of truth, to salvage the soul of Rivers State. Our fathers fought for the creation of Rivers State, we will stand to defend it. “When injustice and criminality become law and a way of life in the polity, resistance becomes a duty.

“Finally, the Forum condemns in its entirety, the directives for the resolution of the political crisis in Rivers State. Nigeria is a constitutional democracy where only the courts can order the reversal of acts done or carried out under the provisions of the law.

“Therefore any resolution or directive that intends to undermine the principle of separation of powers and the rule of law is unacceptable, null and void and will be resisted, using all constitutional means at our disposal.”

Demolition of chambers complete

Meanwhile, the hallowed chambers of the State House of Assembly and its adjourning officers have been completely demolished.

Our reporter who visited the Assembly on Wednesday observed that three bulldozers were still gathering the rubbles of the entire demolished hallowed chamber.

The buildings standing are those spatially separated from the demolished structure, mainly officers of staff and other buildings and others.

It was also observed that zinc has been used to block the iron fence all through the stretch of the area overlooking Moscow Road to prevent see-through, even as the sounds of the bulldozers could still be heard from outside.

In another development, a mild drama played out at the Rivers State High Court sitting in Isiokpo, Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday as the 27 lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike moved to withdraw motions filed in a matter instituted against them by the Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Recall that Fubara had on the 1st of November, in suit no. IHC/230/CS/2023, dragged the Rivers State House of Assembly, (1st Defendant) Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, (2nd defendant) Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly (3rd) Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly, (4th) and Chief Justice of the State as 5th defendant, praying Interim Order of the court to stop the lawmakers from impeaching him.

The presiding Judge, Justice O. Ben-Whyte, had entered the order as sought by the applicant through his counsel, Mr. Damian Okoro, SAN.

The court had barred the State House of Assembly and the State Chief Justice from impeaching the Governor of the state, Fubara, pending the determination of the Motion on notice before it.

But at the resumed hearing, Counsel for State House of Assembly, Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, informed the Court that he had the instruction of his clients to withdraw the matter from court.

Orbih noted that the decision grew from the peace agreement of the parties in this suit at Abuja, on Monday.

But in a swift response, counsel for the claimant, Okoro, SAN, told the court that he had yet to receive instructions from his client to withdraw the matter.

Meantime, the court directed that the claimant’s counsel consult his client with respect to the recent development as submitted by the defence counsel, and adjourned to the 31st of January, 2024 for a report of alternative settlement.

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