Association sues Fubara, others over suspension of elected LGA chairman

The Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners (ALDRAP) has sued the Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara and three others at the Federal High Court, Abuja for vetoing a finance bill and suspension of an elected Local Government chairman.

Joined in the suit are the Speaker, River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule, the clerk and all members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/13/2024, the plaintiff argued that the Rivers State House of Assembly did not follow the legislative procedure such as first reading before vetoing the governor.

They also argued that the state House of Assembly cannot legislate on the Local government other than as stipulated by section 7 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and any such legislation was unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

In its originating summon, the association wants the court to determine whether 30 days elapsed from when the Rivers State House of Assembly submitted the bill to the governor and followed the legislative procedure such as first reading before vetoing the governor.

They also want the court to determine whether quorum was duly formed during the veto process and the lawmakers that voted were valid members whose seat had not been declared vacant due to their defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from their political parties.

In the summons taken out by Emmanuel Uchenna Elom of Specter and Ashburn solicitors, the association wants the court to declare that Rivers State House of Assembly cannot veto a finance Bill and any such action to the contrary, and so, was unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

They also want an order restraining the 1st defendant (Fubara), his agents, servants, and assigns from suspending any and all democratically elected local government chairman of Rivers State.

In a 14-paragraph affidavit sworn by Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja to support the originating summon, he said, “in furtherance of the plaintiff’s object, it has commenced this suit by way of public interest litigation and the reliefs sought are for the overriding benefit of the public and for the promotion of the rule of law and good governance in Nigeria.

“That one of the issues in controversy from the four Bills which was pointed out by the Speaker was that it sought to remove the power of the governor of Rivers State to appoint caretaker committee chairmen for the local governments, since the governor was allegedly not planning to conduct local government elections in the State.”

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