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  • Samson Omale

Rivers LG Crisis: Governor Fubara Appoints Administrators To Take Over LGAs In Rivers

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers has directed Heads of Administration in the 23 Local Government Areas(LGAs), to assume leadership of the councils.

Fubara gave the directive in a state-wide broadcast in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, following the expiration of the tenure of the 23 LG chairmen at midnight on Monday.

He emphasised that the transfer of power to the administrators was critical to ensuring the continuity of governance in the LGAs.

“The heads of administration are directed to immediately take charge of the councils and provide leadership in their respective LGAs.

“They must do this with renewed vigour and readiness to serve, while awaiting further directives as we navigate towards even greater accomplishments together.

“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be upheld and law and order must be maintained as we continue to strive to provide leadership and direction for our people.”

Fubara praised the former chairmen, vice chairmen, and councillors for their dedicated service during their tenures, acknowledging their sacrifices and contributions to the development of their LGAs.

The governor reassured the public that his administration would persist in delivering infrastructure, quality healthcare services, education and enhanced welfare packages for the residents and workers of the state.

Meanwhile, the 23 local government chairmen, who are believed to be loyal to former governor Nyesom Wike, have vowed to remain in office after June 17, citing a law enacted by 27 “pro-Wike lawmakers” extending their tenure by six months.

The state ALGON Chairman, Allwell Ihunda, has consistently insisted that the chairmen would not relinquish their positions, and dared Fubara to force them out.

He warned that any attempt to remove them from office would be resisted.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the pro-Wike legislators had amended the Local Government Law to extend the tenure of elected chairmen and councillors by six months, if elections were not conducted before the end of their term.

But the state High Court later barred the assemblymen from parading themselves as members of Rivers State House of Assembly after they defected from the PDP to the APC.

The court also nullified laws passed by the Martin Amaewhule-led factional assembly and declared their seats vacant after they openly defected to the opposition APC in December.

Subsequently, the 27 lawmakers took the matter to the Court of Appeal which would decide the fate of the embattled legislators and LG chairmen on June 20.

However, there was palpable fear on Monday as some angry youths reportedly stormed some of the LG council secretariates, calling for the ousting of the council chairmen.

The youths invaded Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Degema and Andoni LGA offices, and locked the gates, insisting that the outgoing chairmen must vacate office.

In Degema, the protesters chanted war songs and appeared battle ready to stop the chairman from remaining in office after his tenure.

In Asri Toru LGA, hordes of youth took over the council’s headquarters, issuing threats against the chairman and challenging him to show up on Wednesday after the Eid-el Kabir holidays.

At Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor LGAs offices, heightened security presence deterred protesters with seven police patrol vans and armed personnel guarding the council offices to avert chaos.

Meanwhile, Mr Olatunji Disu, the Commissioner of Police in Rivers, has assured newsmen that steps had been taken to prevent breakdown of law and order.

He said that the police were aware of an attempted invasion of the council offices and had deployed personnel to forestall any chaos.

“We are aware of the crises and court orders, but we urge restraint till June 20 (when the Appeal Court will deliver judgment on the LG tussle).

“We expect everyone to await the decision of the court. No one should take the laws into his or her hands.

“We have deployed operatives to various strategic locations to uphold order and ensure public safety. So, we are performing our duties,

Disu warned against defying the law and advised parents to deter their children and wards from unlawful actions.

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