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Socialists, CSOs back Governor Fubara on probe of Wike's administration

...Charges Fubara to help state recover stolen funds, community lands

Coalition of Civil Society Organisations has declared support for the move by Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State to probe the immediate past administration in the state.

The CSOs in a statement by its convener, Comrade Declan Ihekaire, said probing the administration of Nyesom Wike will enable the state to recover stolen funds to support the governor's developmental projects.

Ihekaire said: "We are in full support of Governor Fubara probing and investigating the immediate past administration in the state.

"Even though the Governor was past of the administration but probing the Wike-led government is an indication that Fubara has the interest of the people at heart."

On his part, the President of the Society for Open Justice in Nigeria, Oloyede Kadiri, raised an alarm over a clandestine move by a faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly to upturn an interim injunction by a Rivers State High Court, restraining the Martin Amaewhule-led faction from parading themselves as legislators.

Kadiri said the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Martin Amaewhule had devised extra-legal means to upturn the Rivers State High Court ruling. 

“The Martin Amaewhule-led faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly has elected to throw caution into the wind. 

"We have it on good authority of their efforts towards turning the law on its head through extra-judicial means. This indeed portends grave danger for democracy in Rivers state and Nigeria.

“This group of former lawmakers, with the backing of some forces in Abuja, have made overtures to the Justices of the Appeal Court to upturn the ruling of the Rivers State High Court restraining the 25 defendants from meeting/sitting at the auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters or any other place whatsoever to purport to carry out the legislative business of the Rivers State House of Assembly."

The group alleged that hefty sums of money had been earmarked for the project to get a favourable ruling from the Appeal Court.  

“These former lawmakers have made it clear that what money cannot do, more money can do. They have bragged about control of the judiciary by their patron in Abuja and that the ruling of the Rivers state High Court will be upturned.

“The attempt at compromising the justices of the Appeal Court is a coup on democracy. Those whose actions and inaction have contributed to the political impasse in Rivers State are enemies of democracy. 

"If this anomaly is allowed in Rivers State, it can happen in any state in the country. The implication would be the end of democracy or any semblance of democracy in Nigeria.” 

The group also warned the 25 former lawmakers to desist from political blackmail and other acts that have disrupted governance in the state. 

“The group of 25 former lawmakers must realize that their actions in the last year have been embarrassing and made River State a laughing stock. 

"They have elected to dance to the dictates of their patron and pledged their loyalty to him rather than the people of Rivers state.

“Their actions also beg the question of what their primary motive is. To serve the people of Rivers State or to serve a master who has vowed to continue to deprive the people of Rivers State the dividends of democracy.

“The Society for Open Justice in Nigeria is alarmed at such tendencies by a group elected by the people, but whose body and soul have been sold to the devil in exchange for a plate of porridge.” 

The group further called on the Justices of the Appeal Court to resist the overtures to compromise and give a ruling in favour of the 25 lawmakers. 

“The Society for Open Justice is calling in the Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court to resist all the overtures by some vested interest in the Rivers State debacle. We know the tremendous pressure from different quarters to obstruct justice.

“Their paymaster has boasted that he controls the judiciary, which remains an affront to our sensibilities as a people and a country. He has openly attacked the reputation of the judiciary in the country.

“We are confident that the Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court would resist their overtures and stand on the side of equity, justice and fairness. 

"Nigeria is not a banana republic where individuals ascribe to themselves the power to violate the rights and privileges of the people.”   
It would be recalled that there has been a running battle for controlling the Rivers State House of Assembly, with 25 former lawmakers loyal to the former governor of the state decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC). This move opened a litany of litigation. 

Justice CN Wali of the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt issued an interlocutory injunction, barring Speaker Martin Amaewhule and associated lawmakers from further sitting and parading themselves as members of the state House of Assembly, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

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