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Rivers crisis: Wike’s men march against Fubara in Port Harcourt

Prominent leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State on Sunday carried out a solidarity protest to the House of Assembly quarters in Port Harcourt.

Prominent APC members such as Desmond Akawor, Kingsley Chindah, Olaka Nwogu, Chief Tony Okocha, among others were part of the protest.

The protesters rejected the alleged plan of the state government to demolish the complex.

The protesters were received by Hon. Martins Amaehwule, Speaker of the Assembly faction loyal to Nyesom Wike, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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Amaewhule told the protesters that there was a grand plot by Governor Siminalayi Fubara to bring down structures in the complex the same way he ordered demolition of House of Assembly Complex located along the Moacow Road.

He said the structures were in excellent condition, fully functional and were currently occupied by the lawmakers and their family members.

Amaewhule said the lawmakers never invited the governor to come to the quarters, adding that the estate remained the property of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

He said , “Your visit is unusual visit. It shows that the good people of the state are concerned about what is happening. This facility is the facility of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“We have also brought in experts, engineers and there is nothing wrong with these structures. They are fully in use and fully functional. All the experts confirmed to us that this building is one of the best in the entire West Africa.

“This complex was constructed by the former Governor, Nyesom Wike and inaugurated in August 2022 by the current chief of staff to Mr. President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila. We are happy with the building and everything is working well.

“We didn’t write to the governor and we didn’t invite him. We didn’t ask for his help because we don’t need it. We don’t need his intervention in any way. Any attempt to talk about reconstruction or demolition is clearly an assault on democracy and an assault on members resident in these buildings.

“The Rivers State Government is not the office of the governor. It comprises the legislature, executive and the judiciary. The governor has no right to claim it as his personal property. It is the property of the Rivers State House of Assembly. So without an invitation to the governor, he has no right to break into our property.”

Amaewhule while taking the leaders around the complex, insisted that the governor had no right to make any executive order directing lawmakers where to hold their sitting.

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, while stating the purpose of their visit said they were worried about reports of another impending demolition of democratic institution and decided to assess the condition of the premises.

Chinda said before their visit, they had already engaged experts to assess the integrity of the structures at the complex and their report showed that they would last for more than 25 years.

He observed that the complex built by Wike about two years ago remained the best in Africa and was better than the National legislative quarters.

He said: “Let me salute the speaker and members of the House. The assembly complex that was brought down some leaders of the state went to USA to get that design. When it was built, it was the best state assembly in this country. That structure is nowhere today.”

“However, as members of the National Assembly from Rivers State, we have joined the leaders and elders of the state to discuss the issues happenings in our state the latest being the threat to bring down the structures in this premises.

“We have commissioned engineers and experts to study and give us the report of the integrity of these structures. We have received the report. And the report says these structures have a lifespan of nothing less than 25 year.

“We have on our own come out to physically inspect the structures to crosscheck it with the report we received and these structures are still strong and healthy. Our apartments in the National Assembly are not better than what we have seen here.

“We should be proud that our state assembly occupies this quarters. It is easier to destroy than to build. The one we have destroyed have we made any move to rebuild it? Let us know that public officers should be living examples in the society both in character and in conduct. Let us also caution that you must govern in line with the rule of law.

“We want to advise the governor to bridle a little bit at exuberance that we had seen within this period. It doesn’t portend well to our state”.

Chinda said the National Assembly was observing and monitoring the situation in Rivers and would soon take a decision in the collective interest of the state.

He said: “We members of the National Assembly have not spoken. We have observed. But we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our state fly. We are coming out and we will take position without looking at anybody.

“It will be a position that will be in the interests of the state. No one individual is larger than Rivers State. We are members, leaders and elders of Rivers and this state we must protect”.

In his remarks, Igo Aguma, a former member of the House of Representatives, said the Justice Omotosho’s judgement indicted the governor of willful destruction of the assembly complex, alleging that Fubara committed a criminal offence.

He said: “I want to remind the governor that the same Justice Omotosho judgement had found that he willfully brought down institution of the Parliament in the Rivers State House of Assembly by demolishing it.

“He willfully did it in order to prevent them from sitting. That is malicious damage to public property. It is a criminal offence. The red biro will run dry one day and you will be made to answer. It has not been appealed against. I want to also let him know that Rivers people will muster all democratic institutions in the world to defend democracy in Rivers.

“We will not run away. We will fight him back. Democracy is the best form of government and we will have democracy in Rivers. He should take pity on the governed and to remember that Rivers State House of Assembly has made itself financially autonomous”.

A former Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani, said their assessment had shown that there was nothing wrong with the structures and called on the governor to jettison any plan to tamper with quarters.

He warned that governor should desist from any action that could trigger violence, saying Fubara must at all times promote law and order in the state

Also Senator Olaka Nwogu told the governor that it was not the building that made the parliament but the people and the constitution.

He said if the governor continued to destroy hallowed chambers, the members would continue to create more in defence of democracy.

Nwogu recalled the destruction of the House of Assembly complex and described it as the greatest assault on democracy.

The Rivers Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Chief Tony Okocha, commended the leaders and elders across party lines for defending democracy saying it was a demonstration of the unity in the state.

Okocha said the 27 lawmakers remained members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that the party would continue to protect them.

He said at every twist and turn, the governor would always confess his support for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but he alleged that Fubara did not vote for the President in the last election.

He said: This goes to show the world that Rivers people are united. We are one. The speaker had taken us round the premises and had given us the synopsis of what transpired when the governor in a Gestapo manner cane with thugs to harass the inhabitants here.

“27 lawmakers are members of our party and we owe them the responsibility to protect and defend them. At every twist and turn, the governor attempts to see how he can curry political patronage by claiming that he supports Mr. President. It is not true. It is a fluke.

*The world should know that they are not supporters of Mr. President. They want to lash on it to see whether they can continue to engage in their illegality. As chairman of APC, Rivers State, I have taken a look at the details of voting in the past election and it is clear to me that the governor did not vote for Mr. President.”

Below are some pictures of the protest:

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