Thu, 18 Jul 2024


Rivers Crisis: You can operate from anywhere — Fubara tells CTC Chairmen
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Thu, 20 Jun 2024   ||   Nigeria,

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has said the newly sworn-in caretaker committee chairmen in the state can operate from anywhere if attempts to gain access to council secretariats would breach the peace in the state.

Governor Fubara stated this shortly after swearing in the 23 chairmen at the government house in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

He warned the caretaker chairmen, not to confront the security men who have taken over the council secretariats, saying he does not want to be associated with violence.

“Let me also advise that as you resume in your respective local governments, please I do not want any confrontation, it is not in my nature. It is not my style.

“Whatever happened yesterday (Tuesday) I know and the world knows that it is not from you people.

“Some persons caused it. So let us not allow them to continue to make our state look bad in the comity of states. So if you go back, if there is any situation I want you to be law abiding. I don’t want any confrontation. You can operate from anywhere,” he said.

He said the most important thing was that the caretaker chairmen are now in charge of the Local Government Areas.

Governor Fubara also noted that the tenure of the caretaker committee would be short because, in the coming days, the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) would begin the process for the conduct of local government elections.

The state police command had on Tuesday announced, that it had taken over all the LG council headquarters to forestall further bloodshed and to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

A policeman and a member of a local security outfit were killed during a clash between supporters of the governor and his predecessor, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nyesom Wike, at Eberi-Omuma in the Omuma Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.

Fubara and his predecessor have been locked in an unending disagreement since late last year.

The crisis led to the bombing of the state House of Assembly last year, factionalised the Housem while the governor survived an impeachment by Martin Amaewhule led 27 lawmakers of the House loyal to the FCT minister.

The crisis worsened on Tuesday when youths loyal to the governor dislodged some chairmen loyal to Wike after the expiration of their tenure.

The three-year tenure of the 23 chairmen expired on Monday but they had vowed to remain in office, citing the Local Government Amendment Law 2024 made by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

The law by the 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike empowers them to remain in office for six months due to the failure of Fubara to conduct local government elections.

I Can’t Access Rivers LG Headquarters, Says New Caretaker Chairman

One of the 23 newly sworn-in caretaker local government chairmen in Rivers State said security agents denied him access to the headquarters of the Ikwerre Local Government Area (LGA) on Wednesday.

Darlington Orji, one of those inaugurated as LG caretaker chairmen by Fubara, was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday.

When asked whether he has assumed office, the newly sworn-in caretaker chairman for Ikwerre LGA said, “Upon swearing in today, we were asked to resume so that we can swear in our members.

“I got to Ikwerre Local Government Council and I saw that it’s being barricaded by security agents, the police to be very precise.

“I asked a question and they said they were acting on the orders of the Inspector General of Police.

“That is the situation. I couldn’t access the council because I did not want to break the law. My responsibility is to ensure that there is law and order and to make sure that my people are protected.

“So, I wouldn’t want to force myself against the security agent so that I would not have any clash with them. That is the position at the moment. The police barricaded the gate of the council. There is no point in a power tussle. We are working on it and we will see what to do about it.”

He said the former chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Samuel Nwanosike, was first appointed caretaker chairman about nine months before he was elected as LG chairman, and so he has no moral right to kick against the appointment of caretaker chairmen.

The police took over the council secretariats of the 23 LGAs in the oil-rich South-South on Tuesday, following the crisis that erupted over the three-year tenure expiration of the former LGA chairmen.

The former LG chairmen who insisted that their tenure be extended are loyal to Fubara’s predecessor, Nyesom Wike. Three deaths have been recorded in the wake of the pandemonium.


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