The Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) from conducting fresh elections to fill the seats of the deposed Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Martins Amaewhule, and 24 others.

Justice Donatus Okorowo of the said court gave the order pending the determination of the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by the affected lawmakers.

The court also granted an order of interim injunction restraining INEC, the People’s Democratic Party and the state assembly or their agents from declaring vacant or taking any steps whatsoever to declare vacant the seats of the plaintiffs at the Rivers State House of Assembly.

They were also barred from withdrawing the plaintiff/applicants’ respective certificates of return and conducting fresh elections to fill in the seats of the plaintiffs pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

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The orders were contained in a certified true copy of the ruling of the court dated December 15 made available to THE WHISTLER on Sunday.

Amaewhule and 24 other lawmakers who are said to be loyalists of the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, filed the exparte motion dated December 15.

The lawmakers defected from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, hence the new Speaker, Hon. Edison Ehie, declare their seats vacant.

The Amaewhule-faction of the state assembly via its motion sought the court’s protection barring the state assembly and security agencies from stopping them from performing their legislative functions, enjoying their rights and privileges as lawmakers and removing their security attachments.

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But the state assembly in its motion on notice dated December 15 and seen by THE WHISTLER asked the court to dismiss the case of the applicants and decline jurisdiction on the matter.

The state assembly’s lawyer, Lukman Fagbemi, contended that the court in Abuja “is not imbued with territorial jurisdiction to entertain this suit”.

Fagbemi argued that the purported dispute between the lawmakers arose from Portharcourt, insisting it is outside the jurisdiction of the FHC Abuja.

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