You can’t tell lawmakers where to sit – Falana faults Fubara’s executive order

Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has criticised Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State for relocating the sitting of the Rivers State Assembly to the Government House.

Amid the political crisis rocking Rivers, Fubara on Friday, May 10, 2024, issued an executive order for the relocation of the state assembly to the Admin Block of the Government House in Port Harcourt.

The governor in an official gazette said the House of Assembly complex is unsafe.

“NOW THEREFORE, I SIR SIMINALAYI FUBARA GSSRS, the Governor of Rivers State this 30th day of October 2023, Pursuant to the powers vested in me under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) hereby ISSUE, ORDER, AND DIRECT that all proceedings and business of Rivers State House of Assembly shall temporarily take place at the Auditorium, Admin Block, Government House, Port Harcourt until the repairs, renovation or reconstruction of the chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly are completed,” the gazette read in part.

But Falana has faulted the move by the governor, saying any sitting by the state lawmakers “outside the House of Assembly complex will not be recognised by law.”

Falana while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, maintained thatFubara has no power to change the sitting venue of the lawmakers.

“I would like to assume that the governor issued that executive order before the intervention of the High Court in Rivers State.

“The house is independent of the executive. So the governor cannot tell the house where to sit,” Falana said.

“There is a separation of powers under the Constitution and each organ of the government must recognise its own powers and limitations,” the senior advocate said.

He said if there’s a need to sit elsewhere, the House of Assembly, properly constituted, will decide the venue of the meeting.

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