May 23, 2024

Rivers Assembly crisis: Rights group urges INEC to conduct fresh elections

Rivers Assembly crisis: Rights group urges INEC to conduct fresh elections

Frankly Isong

A pro-democracy group in Nigeria, the Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), has urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to immediately conduct fresh elections into the 27 State Constituencies of the Rivers State House of Assembly to avert what the group called, “constitutional infraction in the State.”

The position of the human rights group was contained in a Press Release issued by its Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, and Secretary, Barr. Christopher Ekpo, on Tuesday, 12th December, 2023, and made available to newsmen in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

The CHRAN asserted that the defection of the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the political party that sponsored them into the Assembly – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, 11th December 2023, when there is no division in the PDP, by Section 109(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the seats of the 27 Assembly Members have become vacant from the date of their defection.

The group further warned that any action taken by any or all the 27 lawmakers in the name of the Rivers State House of Assembly will be unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect as they have lost their seats in the eyes of the law and the Constitution.

CHRAN, however, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to take urgent measures to ensure the maintenance of law and order in Rivers State.

The center advised politicians not to heat the polity in Rivers State but to allow the government to provide democratic dividends to the people of the State.

The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new turn on Monday, 11th December, 2023 with the defection of 27 lawmakers from the political party which sponsored their election into the Rivers State House of Assembly.

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