BREAKING: Appeal Court Orders Rivers Lawmakers to Maintain Status Quo, Here is what it means

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In a virtual hearing held on Friday via Zoom, the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt ruled on two motions filed by Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule and other defected lawmakers. These motions challenged an injunction issued by the Rivers State High Court, which restrained them from acting as lawmakers.

In its ruling on the first motion, the Court of Appeal granted the appellants’ requests to compile and transmit the records of appeal, deeming the appellants’ brief of argument as filed, and accelerating the hearing. The court also granted a stay of further proceedings at the High Court.

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However, the Court of Appeal refused to grant the appellants’ prayer for a stay of execution and the setting aside of the interim order of the lower court. The court held that granting this request would essentially determine the appeal at this preliminary stage. Instead, the court ordered that the current status quo be maintained pending the hearing of the appeal. This status quo refers to the present situation of the parties involved.

In ruling on the second motion, which sought to set aside the interlocutory injunction of the lower court, the Court of Appeal similarly refused the appellants’ request and reiterated that the current status quo should be maintained.

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The respondents have been directed to file their briefs within 72 hours of being served. The case has been adjourned to June 20th, 2024, for the hearing of the appeal.

Key Points of the Court’s Ruling:

Leave to Compile and Transmit Records of Appeal:

    • The court granted the lawmakers’ request to compile and transmit the records of their appeal.
    • The court also accepted their brief of argument as officially filed.
    • The court accelerated the hearing process to address the appeal more quickly.
    • The court ordered a stay of further proceedings at the High Court, meaning that the High Court cannot proceed with any actions related to this case until the appeal is resolved.

Refusal to Stay Execution and Set Aside Interim Order:

    • The lawmakers had requested the Court of Appeal to stay the execution of the High Court’s order and to set aside the interim order restraining them from acting as lawmakers.
    • The Court of Appeal refused this request, stating that granting it would effectively resolve the appeal at this early stage.
    • Instead, the court ordered that the current situation (status quo) should be maintained until the appeal is heard.

Status Quo Order:

    • The court ordered that the current state of affairs should be maintained, meaning the lawmakers cannot act in their capacities until the appeal is decided.
    • This decision aims to preserve the situation as it is, preventing any changes until a final ruling is made.

Second Motion Ruling:

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    • The court also ruled on a second motion that sought to set aside the interlocutory injunction (temporary order) of the High Court.
    • The Court of Appeal refused this request as well, reinforcing the need to maintain the current situation.
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