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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Court ruling on Rivers House of Assembly: APC vows to resist any unconstitutional action



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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly warned against any reliance on Wednesday’s judgement of a federal high court, nullifying the takeover by the National Assembly of the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly, to perpetrate any mayhem or unconstitutional acts in Rivers State.
In a statement issued in Osogbo on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also warned the police and other security agencies not to provide cover for renegades to engage in any illegality, saying their role must be to ensure the safety and security of all legislators if and when the house decides to sit.
It said there is no doubt that the six legislators opposed to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi will try to hide under the cover of the judgement to convene the Assembly  with the sole purpose of removing the Speaker as a prelude to impeaching the State Governor, but warned that any such act will constitute an  illegality and trigger a cataclysmic reaction, the end result of which  no one can predict.
”The six  legislators opposed to Gov. Amaechi do not and cannot form a quorum (9  members) that will even allow the House to convene legally, not to talk  of at least 20 members – representing two third majority – that can  constitutionally impeach the Speaker. In a house of 32 members, there is no way six members can be more than 26, even under the warped  arithmetic which the Jonathan Administration has been conjuring in  recent times to back the losing faction of the Nigerian Governors’  Forum.
”However, we are aware that the renegade  legislators, with the clear backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, have nothing but disdain for constitutionality and the rule of law, hence  will have no qualms about carrying out any act of impunity.
”We are therefore constrained to warn, in the strongest  possible terms, that we in the APC will take any impunity in Rivers as  an impunity to all, and will vehemently resist such with a spontaneous  explosion of people power not only in states under our control but  across the country,” APC said.
Urging the police not to allow themselves to be used to  perpetrate violence and chaos, the party said already, the Police  Commissioner in Rivers has ordered that all roads leading to the House  of Assembly complex in Port Harcourt be barricaded, perhaps as a prelude to escorting the renegade members to convene to illegally remove the  Speaker.
To President Jonathan, APC said he must not allow  personal and partisan considerations to blot out his responsibility as  the father of the nation and put in jeopardy his constitutional role of  ensuring the country’s unity.
”We are aware of the letter to President Jonathan by  former President Olusegun Obasanjo virtually accusing the President of  destroying the same nation he was elected to preside over and uplift. We hope he will not allow Obasanjo’s prognosis about him to come true so  soon by backing any move that can plunge Nigeria into chaos.
”This is because we in the APC have resolved never  to sit by and allow anyone, no matter how highly placed, to engage in  actions that will make our country a laughing stock and a pariah in the  comity of nations. Therefore, there will be no peace anywhere in the  country if this Federal Government supports the perpetration of impunity in Rivers. This is not a threat, but the sure consequences of any acts  of impunity,” it said
The party called on all people of goodwill, especially  past leaders, to prevail on President Jonathan to back off the renegade  MPs who are hell bent on causing mayhem in Rivers.
Meanwhile, the party has described Wednesday’s court ruling as bizarre and  alarming, against the background of the massive mayhem that was  unleashed in the Rivers House of Assembly last July.
It wondered why the court will say there were no facts  that the House of Assembly could not carry out its functions, with the  Mace as well as several heads broken and the hallowed chambers  desecrated by a free-for-all that was watched all around the world.
”What else must occur before the stipulated conditions  can prevail for the National Assembly to take over the functions of the  Rivers House of Assembly? Is it when MPs are slaughtered like rams that  such a condition will be deemed to have prevailed?
”We are astonished and concerned by this court ruling,  especially coming shortly after we warned the judiciary not to allow  itself to be used by unscrupulous people to reverse the gains that have  been recorded under the present Chief Justice of Nigeria, who has  embarked on determined and sincere efforts to clean up the judiciary,”  APC said.

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