COURT OF APPEAL RULES THAT ONLY FEDERAL HIGH COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER LOCAL GOVERNMENT TENURE EXTENSION MATTERS

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A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, sitting virtually in Port Harcourt, has ruled that only the Federal High Court has the jurisdiction to entertain matters related to the tenure extension of local government councils.

The court dismissed a notice of preliminary objections filed by Victor Oko-Jumbo, Sokari Goodboy, Adolphus Timothy, and Governor Siminalayi Fubara, who are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respondents, challenging the appeal filed by Martin Amaehule and 25 others.

The Court of Appeal held that the platform used to file the suit was faulty and cannot stand. It ruled that the trial court, which was the State High Court, lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by the respondents.

Consequently, the court declared that the order made by the trial court is null and void. The Court of Appeal also vacated the order made by Justice C.N Wali of the Rivers State High Court against Martin Amaehule.

The implications of this judgment are that while Martin Amaehule remains the speaker and 25 others remain members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, they cannot resume sitting due to an order from the Court of Appeal directing parties to maintain status quo on a suit filed by Enyaida Clifford Cookey-Gam and six others against Governor Siminalayi Fubara and others.

Additionally, this judgment affects another suit filed by Augustine Ngo against the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which is related to the legality of Martin Amaehule and 25 others' defection.

In essence, this ruling has put on hold any further actions taken by Martin Amaehule and 25 others until further orders from a competent court.

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