July 23, 2024

Rivers crisis: Stop ridiculing judiciary – Lawyers’ coalition warns

More reactions have trailed the judgement of a Rivers State High Court which was purported to have reinstated the sacked 27 lawmakers loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nyesom Wike.

It was reported on Monday that a Rivers State High Court presided over by Justice Okogbule Gbasam declared that the Martin Amaewhuke-led 27 lawmakers who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in December 2023 were still members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The Rivers State Government has since dismissed the report, stating that the court gave no such judgement but only ruled on jurisdiction.

However, in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Tuesday, the Coalition of Lawyers Against Injustice, condemned what it called brazen affront to the judiciary’s integrity and the rule of law in the state.

The statement was signed by Barr Moses Okino, President of the Coalition.

According to him, “it is an elementary legal principle that a lower court cannot review or overturn the decision of another lower court or a court of concurrent jurisdiction.

“This fundamental tenet of our legal system is being recklessly disregarded by the APC in Rivers State, who seem hell-bent on ridiculing the judiciary and undermining our democracy.

“We are appalled by the APC’s blatant disregard for the judicial process and their resort to self-help, which can only be described as a wicked assault on the very fabric of our legal system.

“This egregious behavior will not only erode public trust in the judiciary but also project Nigeria as a laughingstock before the international community.”

The coalition urged the APC “and the former Rivers State Assembly members to desist from this destructive path and respect the sanctity of the judiciary.

“The courts must be allowed to function without intimidation or manipulation, and the rule of law must be upheld at all costs.

“We implore the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association, and all well-meaning stakeholders to rise up against this affront to our legal system and defend the integrity of the judiciary.

“We will not stand idly by while our democracy is imperiled by the APC’s antics.

“We demand respect for the judiciary and the rule of law, and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that this demand is met.”

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