From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday refused to swear in All Progressives Congress (APC) female lawmaker-elect, Mrs. Victoria Nyeche, as member of the Eighth Assembly.
Speaker Dabotorudima Adam announced on the floor of the House that he received a court order restraining the House from administering an oath-of-office on her, pending the decision of court on a matter of impersonation levelled against her.
The petitioner, Livingstone Wechie, had earlier filed an interlocutory order in court against the lawmaker-elect, which was granted by Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the state High Court.
Court stopped the swearing-in of the defendant representing Port Harcourt City Local Government Area (PHALGA) Constituency 1, for impersonation, wherein she wrote a petition to the Chief Judge Nigeria (CJN) against the Assembly’s confirmation of Chief Judge of the State, using the letter head of the Assembly.
Wechie, in his petition, alleged that the defendant addressed herself as member of the Assembly, even when she had not been administered oath of office or sworn in.
The order was granted on April 20, thereby stopping her from being sworn-in along 11 others.
The trial judge adjourned the case till April 28 for hearing of substantive motion.
However, the embattled lawmaker-elect, who was among the 25 pro-former governor Chibuike Amaechi supporters in the Seventh Assembly, has flayed the decision of the court and Assembly.
Nyeche expressed surprise at the order, saying what played out was a clear indication of a lawless state, stressing that she had not received any order to that effect.
Her words: “I am very sad for what happened today. It is an indication that law does not govern Rivers State. I am surprised that the speaker said he had a court order. I have not been served the court order…”
“This is to show you that the state is not governed by law. It is a calculated plan to stop me from serving my people. I have my Certificate-of-Return issued by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and it is surprising that the decision of a lower court could overrule the decision of Court of Appeal that upheld my victory,” Nyeche told newsmen.
She said she would approach her party, APC, for the next step to take.
Nyeche’s victory at the April 11, 2015, House of Assembly election, was upheld by the Election Petition Tribunal and Court of Appeal , which threw out Jones Ogbonda of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Nine PDP members were among the 11 lawmakers that took oath of office.