By JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT — GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has asked a Rivers State High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, to restrain the Chief Judge of the state from constituting any panel to investigate any notice of allegation presented by the House of Assembly, except the request is in compliance with sub-sections 2, 3 and 4 of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Counsel to Amaechi, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) in the suit, is praying the court to, among other things, set aside any attempt by less than 22 members out of the 32-member House to initiate an impeachment proceeding against him.
He is also praying for “an order of this court setting aside any notice of allegation to initiate the removal proceedings of the state Assembly, conducted in connection with the conceived removal from office of the claimant by less than 22 members out of the 32 members constituting the state Assembly.”
He is also asking the court to declare as unconstitutional, any proceedings for his removal that may be conducted outside the “Rivers State House of Assembly/Parliament building situate on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which is the official address of the state Assembly for the conduct of the official and legislative duties of the House as unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
He is also asking for a declaration that any proceedings of the state House of Assembly, initiated by less than 11 member, which is one third of members of the House and passed or conducted by less than 21 out of the 30 members of the House, which is two third of the members of the House in connection or in relation to the commencement of impeachment proceedings against the claimant are unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
Others are a declaration that in interpreting section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the phrase, members of the House of Assembly includes the members of the House of Assembly, who are on suspension from the House.
That they are not excluded in the computation of either one third or two thirds majority of the members of the House of Assembly for the purpose of exercising the constitutional powers to remove the claimant from office as governor of Rivers State pursuant to subsections 2,4 and 9 of section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He is also asking for a declaration that any notice of allegation of commission of impeachable offences against the claimant signed by less than 11 out of the 32 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly with a view to activating or commencing the constitutional processes for the removal of the claimant from office as governor of Rivers State does not qualify as the one third of the 32 members of the House of Assembly contrary to the mandatory provisions of section 188(2) of the 1999 Constitution and is therefore null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
Counsel to the five anti-Governor Amaechi lawmakers, Mr Emanuel Ukala (SAN) applied to be joined in the suit, but same was opposed by Mr. Olusola Dare, who represented Fagbemi ( SAN).
Trial judge, Justice George Omereji adjourned the matter till July 30, for hearing of the joinder application.