A coalition of civil society organisations in Rivers State on Monday protested in front of the Government House, Port Harcourt and warned Governor Siminalayi Fubara not to re-present the 2024 Appropriation Bill to the state House of Assembly.
The coalition, under the aegis of Responsible and Non-partisan Civil Society Organisations in the state, said any attempt by Fubara to recognise Martins Amaewhule as speaker of the Assembly is a violation of his oath of office.
Speaking during the protest, the chairman of the coalition, Enefaa Georgewill, urged the governor not to succumb to pressure of further desecrating the country’s Constitution by carrying out other items on the list of the peace accord, which he said contravenes the Constitution.
Georgewill stated, “We have watched with keen interest desperate efforts made by few people and anti-democratic elements to avert democracy and undermine the sacred office of the executive governor of our dear state.
“This is unfortunate, to say the least, if not criminal at worst. While we understand your calculation of political exigency, we wish that you refuse to succumb to pressure to be part of a process clearly intended to further desecrate the Constitution of Nigeria.”
He insisted that re-presenting the already-passed budget would amount to disrespect to the Constitution and may result in anarchy in the state.
Georgewill added, “The Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly does not exist in the eyes of the law by the provision of Section 109 (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“To pretend to constitute itself and continue conducting the business of legislation on behalf of Rivers State is untoward, illegal and reprehensible.
“The governor’s action should be controlled and dictated by our laws. Anything outside that is null and void. The office of the President, the office of the Governor, the office of the parliamentarians be it at the national, state or at the local level are all products of law.
“Therefore any attempt for the governor to deviate from those dictates and spirit of our laws, such a position taken by the Governor or any other person is declared null and void.
“We won’t equally fail to challenge any action of the governor that does not follow the dictates of our laws.”
He added that the Amaehwule-led faction of the assembly ceased to be recognised following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, which explains why the governor must follow the law.
On his part, the spokesman for the Rivers State civil society organisation, Solomon Lenu, said the protest was to give Fubara the needed support and encouragement to stand by the law, as the governor will be held accountable for any actions he takes.
The Rivers Assembly became divided following a move by 27 lawmakers loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike to impeach Fubara.
The lawmakers defected from the ruling PDP in the state to the APC.
In December, the governor presented an N800bn 2024 Appropriation Bill to a faction of the Assembly comprising four lawmakers.
Following the passage of the budget by the lawmakers, Fubara subsequently signed the budget into law.
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday nullified the N800bn budget signed into law by the governor.