Rivers LG Tenure Crisis

Rivers LG Tenure Crisis: Police Take Over Councils To Forestall Anarchy As Officer, Security Guard Killed

1 month ago
2 mins read

Police have announced temporary takeover of all the 23 local government councils’ secretariats as well as critical government infrastructure in Rivers State to prevent breakdown of law and order following the skirmishes witnessed Tuesday in various council areas over LG Chairmen’s office tenure controversy.

Following the expiration of tenure of office of the chairmen on Monday, Governor Siminalayi Fubara announced on Tuesday that heads of local government administrations should take over from them.

Youths, subsequently besieged various LGAs demanding that the chairmen should not remain in office.

The police said there was “breakdown of law and order” in various LGAs in the state.

The command confirmed the death of two persons in Eberi-Omuma, Omuma Local Government Area, including an officer and an unnamed local security guard.

The present crisis in Rivers State is centered on the clash between Fubara and Nyesom Wike, his predecessor and former political godfather.

The now former LGA council chairmen said to be loyal to Wike, had insisted on remaining in office for another six months on the basis of an amendment of Rivers State law on Local Government made by Hon. Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly members, that council chairmen can stay for another six months after their tenure expires and election has not been conducted.

However, a Rivers State High Court High Court judgment nullified the amendment. The council chairmen appealed the ruling and are awaiting the final outcome on 20 June.

The police said in a statement signed by Grace Iringe-Koko, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), that they took control of the councils in order to forestall more violence and stop the state’s security from getting worse.

READ ALSO: Tension In Rivers As Youths Barricade LG Secretariats After Fubara’s Broadcast

The statement said: “Following the breakdown of law and order in the various local government council secretariats in Rivers State, where supporters of the two political factions clashed over the tenure of local government council chairmen, a case of death was recorded at Eberi-Omuma, Omuma LGA, where a police officer and a vigilante were killed.

“To forestall more bloodshed and prevent a further breakdown of law and order, the police have taken over all the 23 council secretariats and some critical government infrastructure in the state.

“Conventional police officers and anti-riot police officers have been deployed to these facilities.”

The police urged everyone to abide by the law, and also cautioned those who planned to cause trouble to turn back or risk facing the full force of the law.

The command spokesperson also disclosed that an investigation had been launched to determine the circumstances leading up to the death s of the police officer and local vigilante.

Reacting to the crisis, Fubara, who had an emergency State security council meeting on Tuesday said he will ensure that peace prevailed in the state while also protecting all his patriotic supporters for their stand on the path of truth.

He said that elected local government chairmen’s terms have not been extended and that the law is clear on the subject. He explained that this legal stand had likewise been upheld by the court.

Outgoing Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Dr Samuel Nwanosike, who is Wike’s loyalist, accused the state governor Fubara and his Chief of Staff, Hon. Ehie Edison of hiring gunmen who go around local government councils, shooting at sacked local council chairmen and their supporters.

He said the governor has brought insecurity in the state.

“They went and hired cultists who are shooting and looting council properties in the name of governing a state. They even shot a policeman. Is this the best for democracy!? Nwanosike stated in a viral video.

He called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene and uphold the constitution of Nigeria in the Rivers crisis to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

“We are calling on Mr President that this is the time to uphold the constitution of Nigeria. Governor Fubara has brought insecurity full blown into Rivers State”.

In several videos shared on X, residents and political supporters of the governor are seen taking over Port Harcourt City, Omuma,Obio-Akpor and some other council areas, claiming to prevent the sacked LG chairmen from gaining access.

 


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