News

November 23, 2023

RIVERS ASSEMBLY CRISIS: Court threatens contempt against Amaewhule, Maol

court

By Davies Iheamnachor

A Federal High Court held in Port Harcourt has issued Form 48 against the factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Dumle Maol for contempt of court.

The issuance of form 48 is under an application made by the new Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison and the Rivers State House of Assembly for disobeying the order of the Court made on the 7th day of November 2023.

The court in suit number FHC/PH/CS/240/2023, filed by Rivers State House of Assembly, as the first plaintiff, and Rt. Hon. (Barr) Ehie Ogerenye Edison (Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly) as second plaintiff had ordered parties not to take any step concerning the subject matter of the suit before the court.

The defendants are Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule, (Former Speaker, Rivers House of Assembly), Rt.Hon. Dumle Maol, (Former Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly) the Inspector General of Police, the Director, Department of State Security Services, Rivers State, and the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State.

But, on Monday, the Assembly under Amaewhule had sat at the Assembly complex under alleged police coverage and deliberated on several issues.

Edison, who is standing as the new Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly in the processes filed in court, accused the former Speaker of invading the Rivers State House of Assembly and purportedly holding a sitting of the House in flagrant violation of the order of the court for parties to maintain status quo.

However, given this, the court entered Form 48 titled ‘Notice of Consequences of Disobedience of Order of Court’, dated the 22nd day of November 2023 and signed by the Registrar of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Judicial Division.

The notice issued in the case presided over by Justice Phoebe Ayua warned that the contemnors would be liable to be committed to prison unless they obey the order of the Court and maintain the status quo.

It read: “To: 1. Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule (Former Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, House of Assembly Complex, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State) 2. Rt. Hon. Dumle Maol (Former Deputy, Speaker State House of Assembly, Complex, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State).

“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

It would be recalled that Justice Phoebe Ayua of the Federal High Court upon the application of the new Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Edison and the Rivers State House of Assembly issued an order directing all parties to the Rivers Assembly crisis to maintain the status and not to take any step concerning the subject matter of the suit until the determination of the motion on notice and adjourned till the 27th of November, 2023.