Twenty-seven lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, on Wednesday, held a sitting amidst tight security despite a court order.
Recall that the Amaewhule-led faction of the Assembly, reportedly loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, had threatened Governor Siminalayi Fubara with impeachment, which led to a major crisis in the state.
The crisis led to the suspension of Majority Leader Edison Ehie, who was later elected a factional Speaker by another group of lawmakers loyal to Fubara.
The other faction of the Assembly led by the House Leader had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
However, ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
According to The PUNCH, one of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
The lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Franklin Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by the platform said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also took for first reading a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed a second reading on Wednesday.
The Speaker, who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally passed it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.