Protesters, believed to be acting at the behest of people opposed to Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday pelted the motorcade of four northern governors who are currently on a solidarity visit to Port Harcourt.
The protesters had besieged the airport shortly before the arrival of Governors Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Chanting anti-Amaechi slogans, the protesters berated the governors for intervening in Rivers State’s internal crisis.
The three governors, our sources say, however remained at the VIP Lounge of the airport for about an hour waiting for Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, to arrive.
After Governor Aliyu arrived, the governors drove out of the airport in a waiting motorcade provided by their host. But as their cars drove out of the airport and headed towards the Rivers State Government House, the protesters became violent pelting the motorcade with stones, water bottles, sticks and other items.
However, the governors arrived the Government House safe, without any major incident, and are now holding a closed-door meeting with Mr. Amaechi.
The visiting governors have been firm supporters of the embattled Rivers governor. Insiders say they are visiting in the wake of the recent state-sponsored unrest, to which many commentators have pointed accusing fingers at federal authorities.
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate and professor of literature, at a press conference in Lagos last week, cautioned Patience Jonathan, wife of President Jonathan, against invasively inserting herself in the politics of the state, and working secretly as matron to forces trying to unseat Mr. Amaechi and make the state ungovernable.
Mrs. Jonathan has denied the claims, drawing wide amusement when she described the Nobel Laureate as an “embarrassment.”
The Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, also reportedly arrived Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Mr. Wike, an indigene of Rivers State, has been accused of being an arrowhead of the anti-Amaechi group.
The Rivers State Governor has been having a running battle with the presidency over his stance on major public issues. He has since been suspended from the PDP.
The crisis in the state worsened last week when five state lawmakers, loyal to the presidency, attempted to impeach the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. The speaker and 26 other lawmakers are loyal to Mr. Amaechi, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. The violent crisis in the assembly was widely publicised on television and social media.
Mr. Amaechi has since called for the redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police who is accused of playing a partisan role in the crisis.
Efforts to reach the Rivers Information Commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, on the details of the governors’ visit have been unsuccessful as she is yet to answer our calls.
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