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Falana Insists Rivers Lawmakers Who Defected To APC Have Forfeited Their Seats

A Lagos based Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has insisted Rivers State House of Assembly members who decamped to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have lost their positions in the lawmaking body.

About 25 lawmakers loyal to the immediate past governor of Rivers State and the current Minister of the FCT Nyesom Wike had defected to the APC in the wake of the political impasse involving him and Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

While Falana had late last year said the lawmakers would lose their seats for moving to the APC, the human rights lawyer has doubled down on his position.

“The 25 lawmakers who defected have lost their seats. They have lost their rights to remain members of the assembly,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. 

“In the case of Adetunde and the Labour Party, the Supreme Court made it clear that you cannot decamp and then remain a member of a legislative house in Nigeria unless you can show that there is a division in your party. Today, the PDP is one.”

A fresh crisis erupted in the Rivers State Assembly when some of the lawmakers elected Victor Oko-Jumbo as the speaker.

Oko-Jumbo who represents the Bonny constituency was elected by the lawmakers said to be loyal to Governor Fubara. Although the number of persons who picked him as the speaker is unclear.

Falana, has, however, said that the lawmakers need a quorum to elect a speaker.

“Again, we have to look at the Constitution. Before the House can conduct proceedings, the House must form a quorum to conduct the business of the House, and a quorum in the Constitution is defined,” Falana said.

“But if you want to remove the governor by way of impeachment, again you must have a two-thirds majority of the legislature. This is very clear.”

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