The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on November 29 ordered the Rivers Assembly to continue performing its legislative functions pending the determination of the motion on notice, it was discovered yesterday.
The court also barred the Rivers State Government from withholding the funding of House and stopped the National Assembly from making any attempt to take over the functions of the Rivers Assembly.
The court further stopped the Rivers Government from transferring the clerk, the deputy Clerk and any other employee appointed by the assembly.
The court issued the orders following a suit brought before it by the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Speaker of the House, Martins Amaewhule.
Named as defendants in the suit are the National Assembly, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Deputy Speaker, the House Majority Leader and the House Minority Leader.
Others are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State Commissioner for Finance, Rivers Attorney-General, Rivers Civil Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police.
Ruling on the prayers of the plaintiffs contained in the motion exparte dated November 29th, the court presided over by Justice J.K. Omotosho, granted the reliefs.
The court in a certified copy of its order observed that the affidavit in support of the motion exparte showed that more than two-third or 25 out of the 31 members were sitting and transacting business.
The court said: “That the Rivers State House of Assembly is a constitutional institution that needs to be preserved pending the determination of the motion on notice”.
Consequently, the court issued an order of interim injunction restraining the first to 14th defendants from taking over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly or in any manner assuming the roles and functions or duties of the assembly pending the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction dated and filed November 29th
“An order of interim injection restraining the first to 14th defendants by themselves or by their servants, agents or privies from withholding the funds of Rivers State House of Assembly or deal in any manner howsoever with the funds meant for the Rivers State House of Assembly pending the hearing of the motion on notice.
“An order restraining the 11 to 14th defendants whether by themselves or by their servants or agents from howsoever taking over the control of appointment, removal, transfer or generally taking control of persons appointed into the office of the clerk, deputy Clerk or other members of staff of the first plaintiff or in any manner howsoever interfering with the performance of the functions or duties of persons appointed into the said offices pending the hearing or determination of the motion on notice”.
The court further issued an order “restraining the 11th to 14th defendants from withholding any amount standing to the credit of the Rivers State House of Assembly in the consolidated revenue fund of Rivers State including salaries and emoluments due and payable to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other members of the first plaintiff as well as to the clerk, deputy Clerk and other members of staff of the House in any manner whatsoever denying the assembly of due fund for running it’s affairs pending the hearing of the motion on notice”.
The court said: “The above orders are made basically on the fact that the 25 members out of 31 Rivers State House of Assembly are sitting and transacting business, therefore, the plaintiff/applicants are hereby ordered to enter to undertake as damages to the tune of N1bn if it is discovered or established that less than 25 members or two-third of Rivers State House of Assembly are not sitting and transacting business as stated in the affidavit to support the motion”.
The court in the copy of the order signed by its Registrar, Blessing Ugwu had adjourned the matter till December 7th for hearing.