Rivers Crisis: APC directs members in National Assembly to block approval of 2014 budget & ministerial nominees

The All Progressives Congress is set for a showdown with the Federal Government as it has directed its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals, including the 2014 Appropriation Bill, until constitutionalism is restored in Rivers State, in particular and the nation in general.

Other issues pending before the National Assembly that APC wants its lawmakers to stand against are the confirmation of the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff, the service chiefs and the ministerial nominees.

This directive was contained in a statement issued by the APC at the end of its 8th National Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

The APC has 172 members in the House of Representatives as against the 171 by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Labour Party has eight, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, five; the Accord Party, two; and Democratic Peoples Party, one

In the Senate, the APC has 33 members while the PDP has 72. Labour Party has three and APGA has one.

The Senate is expected to begin consideration of the 2014 budget on Tuesday. Its Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, in conjunction with that of the House of Representatives, is also to start the screening of the ministerial nominees, the CDS and the service chiefs from next week.

The APC, in the statement read to journalists by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that the level of impunity by federal authorities in Rivers State, could no longer be tolerated.

The party said it might no longer restrain its members nationwide, especially in Rivers State, from taking whatever step necessary to protect themselves and their property, if the Federal Government failed to stop the growing culture of lawlessness in the state.

It observed that the manner in which the rights of citizens of the state was being breached by persons and institutions saddled with the responsibility of protecting them, was no longer acceptable.
The statement reads in part, “Following the forgoing and in view of the joint resolutions of the National Assembly on Rivers State, and other constitutional breaches by the Presidency, the APC hereby directs its members in the National Assembly, to block all “legislative proposals, including the 2014 Budget and confirmation of all nominees to military and civilian positions to public offices until the rule of law and constitutionalism are restored in Rivers State in particular, and Nigeria in general.

“The NEC of the APC has now resolved that if these acts of impunity and lawlessness continued unabated and the Police persist in being as an enforcement arm of the PDP(Peoples Democratic Party) to the detriment of our members, it will have no alternative but to ask our teeming members all over the country, and especially in Rivers State, to take whatever steps that are necessary to protect their lives and property.”
The APC said any cursory observer of events in Rivers State since February, 2013, would be left in no doubt as to the culture of impunity being promoted and supported by the Presidency, and executed by the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu.

It accused Mbu of acting like a de facto military Governor of Rivers State and sole administrator of the PDP in the state.