Ex-Rivers LG chairpersons dare police, stage protests

Former local government chairpersons from 21 of the 23 council areas in Rivers have staged protests in the state.

The ex-chairpersons were ordered by governor Siminalaye Fubara to handover to heads of local government administration, following the expiration of their tenure as stipulated by the constitution.

Despite the governor’s directive, some of the former chairpersons reportedly attempted to continue in office before they were chased away by youths said top be loyal to Fubara.

The council chairpersons had maintained that the Martins Amaewhule-led state assembly had extended their stay in office till December 2024.

Officers of the police command fired multiple shots to disperse protesters at the various Local Government Area headquarters.

The development has since left the state on the edge, between the supporters of the state governor and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The 23 local government secretariats have since been barricaded by the police.

Rivers has been embroiled in political crisis since Fubara fell out with Nyesom Wike, his predecessor.

On Monday, Onengiyeofori George, a former chairman and his followers, marched through Buguma, the council headquarters of Asari-Toru LGA, gyrating to songs praising Wike.

They held posters with inscriptions urging the police to continue occupying the council headquarters.

Some of the inscriptions reads: ‘Sim Fubara Can’t Continue to Act As He Likes’ and ‘There’s No Vacancy in Asari-Toru Council’.

The protest by the pro-Wike former LGA bosses is coming despite an advisory against protests as issued by the Rivers police.

The Rivers police command had asked the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to shelve the protest.

On Saturday, Clifford Paul, president of NULGE in Rivers, had given Kayode Egbetokun, the inspector-general of police, a four-day ultimatum to order officers to vacate the 23 LG secretariats in the state.

Paul had said the police siege at the LG headquarters has prevented NULGE members from accessing their offices.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Grace Iringe-Koko, police spokesperson in Rivers, said the command received intelligence of a possible hijack of the protest.

“The police command respects the right to lawful assembly but has received credible intelligence indicating potential infiltration of the planned protest on Monday,” the statement reads.


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