You can’t spend money from Rivers’ coffers anymore, pro-Wike lawmakers bar Fubara

Lawmakers loyal to Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in the Rivers State House of Assembly, have barred governor Siminalayi Fubara, from spending money from the state’s consolidated revenue fund.

In the letter dated July 8, 2024, signed by Martin Amaewhule, the factional speaker of the assembly, and addressed to Fubara, the lawmakers said the governor has yet to present the 2024 appropriation bill to the “duly elected” Rivers assembly.

“That your attention should once again be drawn to the fact that you are yet to present the Rivers State Appropriation Bill, 2024, in line with Section 121 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as altered and in compliance with the judgment delivered on the 22nd day of January 2024 by Honourable Justice J.K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court of Nigeria in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/1613/2023, which confirmed to you that you are yet to present the same to a duly constituted Rivers State House of Assembly under the Speakership of Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule,” the letter reads.

“Pursuant to Section 122 of the Constitution, the Rivers State Government under your watch is now barred from spending funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state, so the House hereby gives you the opportunity to present the same within seven (7) days from the date of this resolution.”

Section 122 of the 1999 constitution states that: “If the Appropriation Bill in respect of any financial year has not been passed into law by the beginning of the financial year, the Governor may authorise the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government for a period not exceeding six months or until the coming into operation of the law, whichever is the earlier.

“Provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not exceed the amount authorised to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State under the provisions of the Appropriation Law passed by the House of Assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year, being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorised for the immediately preceding financial year.”

The pro-Wike lawmakers faulted the swearing-in of Local Government Area caretaker committees by Fubara, adding that the action breached the state LGA amendment law of 2023.

The lawmakers said the recent judgment of the Court of Appeallast week, has nullified all actions taken by the three-member faction led by Victor Oko Jumbo, including the screening of commissioners.

“These infractions by you on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as altered, other extant laws, and judicial pronouncements constitute gross misconduct and abuse of office on your part. We call on you to do the needful and act lawfully without further delay,” the lawmakers said.

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