• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Tension looms in Rivers as ALGON warns of planned protest from today

Pro-Nyesom Wike groups in Rivers State mostly the former local council chairmen and councilors plus the defected lawmakers as well as some federal lawmakers are said to be set to mount protests in Port Harcourt any moment from Monday.

Read also: Fubara dethrones Wike’s man as Rivers’ traditional council chairman

The pro-Sim Fubara groups mostly the newly inaugurated local council caretaker chairmen warned of the consequences and called upon the security agencies to stop the protests.

There is fear that the protests would provoke clashes that may cause the breakdown of law and order and warrant a case for a ‘State of Emergency’ as already demanded for by the Wike-backed All Progressives Congress (APC) in the troubled state.

Now, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State Chapter, has alerted security agencies, especially the police, the Rivers State Government, and the public on the consequences of the planned protest by the former local government chairmen and defected members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and National Assembly members in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt on Sunday, June 23, 2024, ALGON chairman, Ichemati Ezebunwo, labeled the protest a sinister plot. He said it would cause anarchy and chaos with a view to destabilizing governance, and creating excuse to actualize their design for a state of emergency in the state.

Ezebunwo said, “We are drawing the attention of the general public to the planned protest by the immediate past local government chairmen, former House of Assembly members, and National Assembly members loyal to the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike, against the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) manning the 23 local government councils across the state.

“The planned protest is not in the interest of the local governments and the state in its entirety. Rather, it is a calculated attempt by enemies of our dear state to paint the people of the state in bad light, unleash mayhem while at it, and use it to further buttress their inordinate call for the declaration of a state of emergency in our dear state”.

He explained, “We emphatically state that we, members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, and our people are in support of the police decision to take control and protect all local government council secretariats until further directive on the matter.”

Ezebunwo stated that since assumption of duty of the caretaker committee chairmen, no one has attempted to forcefully take over or gain access to any of the local government secretariats in line with the governor’s directive, until the police decide to withdraw or remove whatever barriers put in place to protect government assets.

He added, “We want to categorically state that we are not in any way linked to the planned protest, as it is inimical to the progress and well-being of the people of the state, considering the sinister plots by some desperate politicians to take advantage under the guise of protest, to cause chaos and destabilise governance in the state.

Ezebunwo, who is also Port Harcourt City Council caretaker committee chairman, called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and the state Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, to swiftly swing into action, and ensure the maintenance of law and order by checking any illegal protest in the state.

He said, “Therefore, we call on all law-abiding citizens of our dear state to discountenance the planned protest and go about their lawful and legitimate businesses.

“We wish to place on record, that should there be a breakdown of law and order as a result of the planned protest, the organisers and their sponsors as enlisted above should be held responsible”.

He used the opportunity to thank Rivers people for their massive support to Gov Siminalayi Fubara and his people-first administration, which according to him, is delivering the dividends of democracy to Rivers people.

All the 23 local government council caretaker committee chairmen signed the press statement.