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Court throws out suit to sack 27 Rivers lawmakers over defection

Rivers State House of Assembly

A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Hycent Wosa-Amadi and three others, seeking to declare the seats of 26 Rivers State House of Assembly members, including the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, vacant.

The lawmakers had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in December last year, prompting the legal challenge.

In his ruling, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, the presiding judge, declared that Martin Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers remain members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), striking down claims of their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice Gbasam ruled that the plaintiffs failed to provide sufficient evidence to convince the court that Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other lawmakers indeed defected to the APC as claimed.

The court held that defection from a political party cannot be proven through media reports, including newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, or online news stories, but rather requires more substantial evidence.

The court ruled that a lawmaker’s defection from a political party can only be established through official party records, specifically: the party membership register and a valid membership card in fulfillment of all membership requirements, as stipulated by the party.

“Any other means, including media reports, are insufficient to prove defection,” the judge ruled.

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