Gunshots in Rivers state as youths destroy Wike’s statue, chases council chairmen

The Port Harcourt youths on Tuesday engaged in gunshots as they moved to a local government secretariat to enforce Governor Siminalayi Fubara order that all the council chairmen should vacate their offices after their tenure expired on Monday

Penpushing reports that it is recalled that the Governor had in a broadcast on Tuesday morning, directed heads of local government administration to take over the running of the councils until further directives.

The youths were sighted in a video pulling down statue of immediate past Governor Nyemsom Wike, having accused him of sending police operatives to attack them, as gunshots were being heard as the youths moved into the council secretariat

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“The tenure of local government chairpersons have elapsed and we are in the council hall, we came as citizens of Nigeria to protect the interest of the governor. We are here for peace and tranquility but the police are shooting at us. The commander is here’, the youths were heard saying

Penpushing further reports that the video showed some youths chasing SUV and a backup Hilux vehicle, said to be bringing in Allwell Ihunda, the former chairman of Port Harcourt City council coming to resume duty.

The gun-wielding police operatives could be seen in action trying to disperse the youths, as chaos ensued, while some of their(police) colleagues were sighted in the video jumping inside as the Hilux zoomed off

Penpushing also reports that in another video former chairman of Ikwerre council, Samuel Nwanosike, accused Edison Ehie, the chief of staff to Governor Fubara of leading youths to invade council secretariats in the state.

‘Rivers State Governor has brought full blown insecurity into the state. They have gone to the creeks, hired gunmen. They are shooting at council chairpersons, shooting at local government councils. They even shot at police operatives’ Nwanosike, said.

‘They are sponsored by the governor and Mr Ehie, Ikwerre people will sit and wait for the decision of the Court of Appeal that states clearly that status quo should be maintained’, the embattled former council boss said

Penpushing reports that the Governor in response to the ugly development while speaking with journalists shortly after the State Security Council meeting said he has uncovered plans to arrest his supporters and vowed to defend them.

“Let me also say this: I’m also aware that there is a grand plan to come and arrest some of our supporters. This time around, you have to pass through me to arrest them because I don’t think there is anything that any of those people following us has done. Rather, they are standing on the side of truth’, he said.

‘If it will cost us our lives to stand on the part of truth, we will do that. And I will be the one that will lead the cause. The law is the law. The law has said that there is no extension of tenure. The court said so, and whoever that is assuring anybody anywhere of whatever, I advise them to desist from it because peace is what we need in this state. I assure everyone of you that whatever it takes to make sure that we maintain peace and order, we are not going back on that,” he emphasised.

Penpushing further reports that Fubara informed journalists that the meeting was held because of the recent threat to the peace of the state by the outgone council chairpersons, stressing that it was no more news that the tenure of the council chairmen ended on Monday

“You are all aware that the tenure of the council chairmen ended yesterday, 17 June, 2024, and today, we have ordered the Heads of Local Government Administration to be in charge while they await further directives’, he emphasised.

‘It’s really unfortunate that we started hearing some disturbing news from some LGAs of invasion of council secretariats, and it is really unfortunate. So, we have called the Security Council Meeting so that the needful will be done’, Fubara said.

“We are also aware that our enemy is also planning a lot of things. But we will not fall into that plot. We will not also allow him or them to destroy the peace that we are enjoying in the State,” he added.

Penpushing also reports that it is recalled that the three-year tenure of elected council chairmen in the state expired on Monday but they insisted that they won’t vacate office relying on the Local Government Administration Law.

The law was amended by the lawmakers who are loyalists of the former Governor, who is now a Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which extended their tenure by six months and stripped Fubara of power to set up caretaker committees for the councils.

Penpushing reports that a State High Court, however, in May set aside the law and barred the Governor from implementing them, while the trial court had also barred the 27 pro-Wike lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the Rivers House of Assembly.

The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt on Friday decided against the lawmakers said to be loyalists of the immediate past Governor, while the appellate court declined to vacate the trial court interlocutory injunction and ordered parties (the pro-Wike lawmakers and Governor Fubara-backed three-man assembly) to maintain the “present status quo” pending the determination of the appeal.

Penpushing reports the lingering power tussle between Fubara and his predecessor started last October when the lawmakers said to be loyalists of Wike initiated an impeachment plot against Fubara, while all efforts to resolve the power tussle had met brickwall.

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