Tension In Rivers :  Fubara Clashes With Council Chairmen Over Tenure Expiration

Rivers State is currently experiencing heightened political tension following the expiration of the three-year tenures of local council chairmen. 

The tension escalated yesterday when 21 out of the 23 outgoing council chairmen refused to comply with Governor Siminalaye Fubara’s directive to hand over control to the top civil servants in the councils.

Governor Fubara responded to the defiance by summoning an emergency state security council meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt. 

The meeting, attended by heads of all security agencies in the state, was conducted behind closed doors.

 In a subsequent press briefing, Governor Fubara emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and order, asserting that the law clearly mandates the end of the council chairmen’s tenure without any extensions.

Fubara stated, “The law is unambiguous about it, and the court has affirmed this position. Any plan to arrest our supporters on false charges will not be tolerated. We will stand on the path of truth, even if it costs us our lives.”

The governor’s stern stance is in response to threats from the outgoing chairmen, who have vowed not to vacate their offices. 

Among them is Dr. Samuel Nwanosike, former chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area. Nwanosike and his supporters have occupied the council secretariat, demanding the Appeal Court’s judgment on an appeal involving 25 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, which is expected on Thursday.

Nwanosike accused Governor Fubara and his chief of staff, Edison Ehie, of deploying gunmen to seize control of local government secretariats and loot council properties. 

He said, “These people are going from local government to local government, breaking in and looting councils’ properties, claiming it is in the name of democracy.”

Meanwhile, clashes between supporters of Governor Fubara and those of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike, have resulted in violence.

 In Omuma Local Government Area, a confrontation led to the death of a policeman and a vigilante, with several others injured. 

Supporters of Fubara also removed a statue of Chief Wike at the Obio/Akpor LGA secretariat, adding to the turmoil.

Opposition federal lawmakers under the G60 group have called for treason charges against the 23 former council chairmen.

 At a press conference in Abuja, Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere accused the former chairmen of attempting to illegally retain power and conduct unauthorized swearing-in ceremonies. 

He praised the citizens of Rivers State for resisting these efforts and protecting local government institutions.

As tensions continue to rise, Governor Fubara has directed heads of local government administration to take immediate control of the 23 local government areas.

 In a statewide broadcast, he reaffirmed his commitment to uphold the law and maintain peace in the state.

The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the deaths of the security operatives in Omuma and has launched an investigation into the incident.

 Spokesperson Grace Iringe-Koko assured that more details would be provided as the investigation progresses.

The political landscape in Rivers State remains volatile as all parties await the forthcoming court ruling, which could significantly impact the ongoing power struggle.

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