Court bar National Assembly from taking over functions of Rivers Assembly

A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ahmed Muhammed has nullified the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court also ordered the federal parliament to stop performing the legislative duties of the Rivers Assembly.

The two chambers of the National Assembly had in July passed separate resolutions to take over the legislative functions of the state legislature pursuant to Section 11 (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), pending the resolution of the crisis rocking it and restoration of peace in the state.

The two chambers also recommended the redeployment of the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu.

The action followed a bloody crisis which erupted in the Assembly when five of its members led by Evans Bipi attempted to impeach the Speaker, Otelemaba Amachree.

However, two lawyers, Tamunotemi Asobari and John Kpakol, challenged the resolutions of the two chambers of the National Assembly in court.

Ruling on the suit on Wednesday, Mr. Muhammed held that as at the time the National Assembly took over the affairs of the Rivers State House of Assembly, there were no facts that the Assembly was unable to carry out its functions as provided under the constitution.

He said that by provisions of section 11(4) and (5) of the constitution, the federal parliament could not assume the law making functions of the state legislature because it was still carrying out its functions.

Mr Muhammed also nullified the resolution passed by the Senate mandating the Senate Committee on States and Local Government Areas to investigate the strained relationship between the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and Mr Mbu.