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Port Harcourt
Thursday, July 25, 2024

Breaking: Rivers CJ transfers Amaewhule’s Defection Case.

A swirl of confusion engulfed the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt yesterday as journalists and some lawyers arrived to find that the high-profile cases concerning the defection of 25 state lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been unexpectedly transferred.

The cases, initially heard in Court 4 under Justice Steven Dalyop Pam, were moved to Court 2, controlled by Justice E. O. Obele.

The transfer, which took place on Thursday, came to light only on Friday morning, causing disarray among attendees who were unaware of the change.

The legal proceedings involve two significant lawsuits: one filed by the BOOT Party and others, and another by a local Civil Society Organization against Hon. Martins Amaewhule and other defendants regarding their controversial party defection.

The cases, marked under suit number FHC/PHC/269/2024, have attracted considerable attention due to their potential implications on political alignments in the state.

The reassignment of the cases followed a petition by Hon. Martins Amaewhule, one of the defendants, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho. Amaewhule’s petition requested the transfer of the lawsuits to a different court, a move seen by some as an attempt to influence the proceedings.

On Monday, when the court convened to resume hearings, Justice Pam revealed the existence of the petition, which explicitly sought to halt the current hearing process.

Counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr. Reuben Wanogho, argued that the petition was merely a tactic to disrupt the ongoing case and urged the court to disregard it.

Conversely, Ferdinand Orbi, SAN, representing the defendants, acknowledged the petition and suggested compliance with its requests to reassign the case, indicating he was unaware of his client’s actions.

Justice Pam, addressing the courtroom, noted that since the petitioner, Amaewhule, had neither filed a motion nor a counter affidavit and was not officially recognized in the ongoing case, the court had little choice but to dismiss the petition.

He proceeded with hearing motions for joinder, emphasizing the need to continue without delay.

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