Rivers lawmakers allege plot to assassinate Governor Amaechi, state legislators and prominent govt officials

From being only a thorny political issue, the crisis in Rivers State is moving fast to take a tragic character.

This was the alarm raised Tuesday by Rivers State lawmakers who petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis.

They alleged that Governor Chibuike Amaechi, state legislators and other prominent government officials have been marked for assassination.

The lawmakers in the petition endorsed by the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree, said they were disturbed by the planned withdrawal of security personnel attached to various Rivers State government officials, especially those of Amaechi, the State House of Assembly, the ministries and councils.

They said that the withdrawal had begun with the removal of police from the Okirika Local Council by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu.

Meanwhile, hundreds of women dressed in black staged a peaceful protest at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday to demand the immediate redeployment of the state police boss who they accused of taking sides in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Rivers’ lawmakers in a letter to the President entitled “Disruption of democracy and rule of law - Anarchy looms in Rivers State”, stated that since April 15, 2013 when an Abuja High Court upturned the election of a legitimate and duly elected state executive committee of the PDP led by Godspower Ake, all had not been well in the state.

The Speaker explained that since the removal of Ake, the state had been witnessing, with unending shock, the creeping fashion of daylight illegality and disorder. According to him, state lawmakers are alarmed by planned withdrawal of security personnel attached to Amaechi and other government functionaries.

“The situation in Rivers State has reached a fever pitch, as there are strong indications that the governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the legislators and prominent government officials have been marked for assassination, following series of reported nocturnal meetings held in a neighbouring state and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The situation is exacerbated with the planned release from detention of 18 notable robbery and kidnap kingpins currently in custody to carry out this planned mayhem on the government officials and innocent citizens and residents of the state,” Amachree said.

The Speaker notified the President that the state lawmakers had on April 30, 2013 raised the alarm on the wanton collapse of the security apparatus in the state, intended to orchestrate breakdown of law and order, with the aim of causing a state of emergency.

He said that on May 3, 2013, the masterminds of this state of emergency implemented the first stage of their plan with the sealing off of the Obio/Akpor Local Council secretariat and the clampdown on the offices of the council by the Commissioner of Police through the instrumentality of the Divisional Police Officer, Rumuokoro Police Station, without any valid instrument of law and without any security breach.

“On May 6, 2013, the Rivers State House of Assembly complex which is directly adjacent to the Police Headquarters on Moscow Road witnessed a violent and disruptive take-over by 300 hoodlums under the watchful eyes of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. Your Excellency Sir, we fear for the survival of our democratic structures and the freedom to carry out our legitimate legislative duties has been greatly hindered and interrupted. We make bold to say that we now live in uncertain times, lives and property can no longer be guaranteed in Rivers State as a result of these chronicled events in a state that has just regained its peaceful status from the recent past from being the hotbed of cultism and kidnapping,” he said.

Amachree stressed that silence over this calculated destabilisation of the security apparatus in Rivers State was an “evil wind” that would blow no one any good.

“Consequently Sir, we are left with no other option but to re-instate our avowed resolve to call for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police - Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. We equally call on Mr. President to intervene in the ongoing imbroglio that is about destroying the very fabric that holds the society (Our State) together,” Amachree said.

And as an indication of the worsening crisis, unidentified persons yesterday set a section of the Obio-Akpor Local Council secretariat in the state ablaze shortly after the police ended its 11-day barricade of the complex in compliance with a Federal High Court order.

But the police have filed an application seeking the stay of execution of the interlocutory injunction made by Justice H.A. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, asking them to end the barricade of the Obio-Akpor secretariat.

The chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the council, Mr. Chikordi Dike, explained that the essence of the attack on the council was to destroy vital documents that would have helped the state’s House of Assembly in its investigations into the allegations of financial impropriety levelled against a suspended council chairman.