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Appeal court nullifies expulsion of Amaewhule, others



The Court of Appeal Rivers Division has nullified the expulsion of Martin Amaewhule, the embattled speaker and 24 others from the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Rivers State High Court.

A three-member panel of the appellate court sitting virtually from Abuja held that the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to grant the ex parte order that expelled the lawmakers.

The court held that Section 272(3) of the constitution gives the Federal High Court powers to determine whether the seat of a House of Assembly member has become vacant.

In the lead judgment, Justice Jimi Bada held that by granting the far reaching order, restraining the lawmakers from further acting as members of the Assembly without hearing from the appellants amounted to a denial of their right to a fair hearing.

He held that no urgency warranted the grant of the ex-parte order by the Rivers State High Court.

The Federal High Court, he says, has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine if the seats have become vacant.

The express mention of the Federal High Court in section 272(3) of the Constitution automatically excludes all state High Courts from having the jurisdiction.

The Appellate Court therefore held that the ex parte order having been made without jurisdiction is null and void.


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