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Gunshots As Outgone Rivers LG Chair Attempts To Enter Secretariat

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He was chased away by some youths when he tried to enter the premises.

There was a skirmish when the outgone chairman of Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State Allwell Ihunda attempted to enter the council secretariat.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State had asked the Heads of Local Government Administration to take charge of the 23 councils in the state. This was after the three-year tenure of the council chairpersons, their vice, and councillors ended on Monday.

But in viral videos verified by Channels Television, gunshots were fired when Allwell attempted to enter the secretariat. He was chased away by some youths when he tried to make his way to the premises.

A vehicle belonging to George Ariolu who is the outgone local government chairman of Obio/Akpor was also vandalised.

The development adds another twist to the political crisis in the state months after the Rivers Assembly passed the Local Government Amendment Bill into law.

While Fubara did not assent to the bill, the lawmakers led by Martin Amaewhule vetoed him.

The law empowered the Rivers State Assembly to extend the tenure of council chairpersons, their vice, and councillors where it is deemed impossible to hold elections before the end of their three-year tenure.

But a court nullified the amended law, prompting an appeal. The appeal court is set to deliver a ruling on the matter on June 20, 2024.

In the wake of the disagreement over the tenure elongation of the local chairpersons and councillors, Rowland Sekibo and Onengiyeofori George of Akuku-Toru and Asari-Toru local government councils respectively called for peace after youths barricaded the secretariats on Monday.

They insist that their tenure was duly extended by the Amaewhule-led assembly.

“Everyone should exercise restraint, no matter the provocation. The matter is already in court,” Sekibo said. “Those who want to be caretaker chairmen, just endure; those who want to be council chairmen, just endure. We are already at the Court of Appeal. It won’t take long again for judgment. Whichever way the case goes, it will go to the Supreme Court.”

But on Tuesday, some youths of Ijaw extraction camped outside the Port Harcourt Local Government Area Secretariat in solidarity with Fubara’s directive.

They sat in canopies, sang, danced, and waved the Ijaw Youth Congress flags. Some of them displayed placards with solidarity messages for Fubara amid heavy security presence.

Earlier, police authorities in the oil-rich state cautioned against trouble, warning that they would clamp down on such.

The Rivers Commissioner of Police Olatunji Disu who spoke at the police headquarters in Port Harcourt assured residents of peace. He appealed to politicians and their supporters to respect the appeal and cease hostilities pending the hearing and determination of their case.

He, however, cautioned that Rivers Police Command is combat-ready and won’t condone any attempt to disturb the peace in the South-South state.


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