Lawyers raise alarm over gradual desecration of Noble Profession in Rivers State

…Vow to combat ‘something shall not stand on nothing ‘

By Chris Udochukwu

PORT HARCOURT – A professional group under the aegis of Progressive Lawyers of Rivers State has raised an alarm over the gradual desecration of the legal profession in Rivers State.

The group disturbed by the high level of illegalities being deliberately carried out by the Rivers State Government in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman and Secretary, D.CAMADI, Esq. 0.k OWHORNDAR declared that:

“We are alarmed as lawyers to see that despite the general and well publicized
knowledge of the Judgement of the Federal High Court in Suit No:
FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023; River State House of Assembly and Anor. v
The National Assembly and Ors, and the subsisting Order of the Federal High
Court in Suit No:FHC/ABJ/CS/1681/2023; RT Hon Martins Amaewhule
and Ors v INEC and Ors., The Governor of Rivers State and the High Court of
Rivers State has decided to continually desecrate our profession.

“Sadly, he is not doing it alone, he is doing it with the help of a Senior Advocate
of Nigeria, Dagogo Iboroma and some Judges in the Rivers State High Court.

“For Avoidance of doubt we had warned in our open letter to the Chief Judge of
Rivers State on the 9th of May, 2024 that there were plans to turn the Rivers
State High Court to an Appeal court and declare Mr. Victor Oko Jumbo Speaker
of the Rivers State House of Assembly without recourse to the Judgements and
orders of a court of coordinate jurisdiction,

“We issued out this open letter, which the Chief Judge’s office received. This was
done to save our profession from ridicule.

“Unfortunately, on the 10th of May, 2024, just as we had predicted, an ex-parte
order was issued in Suit No: PHC/1512/CS/2024 by Hon Justice C.N Wali of
the Rivers State High Court purporting to set aside the Judgement of the Federal
High Court in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023; River State House of
Assembly and Anor v The National Assembly and Ors and declare the seats
of lawfully elected House of Assembly members vacant.

“This was also done despite an order of another Federal High Court against
declaring the seats of House of Assembly Members vacant in Suit No:
FHC/ABJ/CS/1681/2023; RT Hon Martins Amaewhule and Ors v INEC
and Ors,

“Furthermore, Honourable Justice C.N Wali ought to know that the provisions of
section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria as amended robs him off any jurisdiction when it comes to tenure and
vacancy of seats of elected officials in Nigeria including State House of Assembly
Members.

“It is also very disturbing that we are in receipt of a letter by a purported Clerk of Rivers State House of Assembly inviting a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dagogo Iboroma for screening before a purported House of Assembly of three men.

“This purported House of Assembly formerly made up of four members was ruled
to be illegal by Honourable Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court in
Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1613/2023; River State House of Assembly and
Anor v The National Assembly and Ors.

“The issue of who the clerk of the House of Assembly was also resolved in the
sald suit by Hon.Justice Omotosho and it was held that only the Amaewhule led
Assembly of 27 members can determine who their clerk is.

“Our worry is that a revered Senior Advocate will aid and abet contempt of a
judgement of court by presenting himself before an assembly that is illegitimate
before the law.

“Even If we were to assume without conceding, that our dear Senior Advocate is
basing his screening on the order of the Rivers State High Court by Hon. Justice
C.N Wali, is our revered Silk implying that the Rivers State High Court now sits on appeal for judgments and interim orders of the Federal High Court?

“We will like to draw the attention of Dagogo Iboroma, SAN to the final
paragraph of the Honourable Justice J.K Omotosho Judgment of the Federal
High Court which states;

” An Order is hereby Made restraining the 11th Defendant from howsoever or
whatsoever manner making any request, presentation or nomination to the
Rivers State House of Assembly not under the Leadership of the 2nd Plaintiff as
Speaker”

“The 11th Defendant on record in the said case is the Governor of Rivers State
and the 2nd Plaintiff is RT. Hon Martin Amaewhule.

“In essence presenting one’s self before any other Assembly not led by RT. Hon
Martin Amaewhule is contempt of court. In all of these, the Governor of Rivers
State enjoys his immunity.

“We therefore call on Dagogo Iboroma, SAN to note that being screened by an
assembly that is not contemplated in the Judgement of Justice Omotosho which
‘still subsists will be nullity in the eyes of the law.

“We also call on all leaders of the Bar and the Bench to with immediate effect
save our noble profession.

“As an organization we shall take steps to oppose this desecration of our courts
and profession and we shall ensure that “something shall never stand on
nothing”

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