APC warns six “rebel” lawmakers against plot to impeach Amaechi
Amid allegations of bias in handling the lingering crisis in Rivers State, the State Police Command said on Monday that it had never been partisan in the dealing with the crisis as being alleged in some quarters.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Ahmad Muhammed, said as a professional body, the police had never taken sides with any of the disputing parties since the crisis began.
Last Thursday, Rivers police officers reportedly shot teargas and live ammunition at 25 members of the House who converged on the Assembly to resume duties following the judgement of the Federal High Court the previous day. The court voided the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions of the state legislature.
The Rivers police also reportedly escorted six other members of the Assembly led by Evans Bipi to sit in the chamber to remove the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, from office. The lawmakers had also attempted to remove the Speaker, Otelemaba Amachree last July.
Mr. Amaechi has repeatedly accused the State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, of siding with his political opponents and undermining security in the state.
But speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Mr. Muhammed denied that the police escorted the lawmakers to the Assembly to sit, adding that it had no intention of doing so.
He also debunked claims that some persons broke into the premises of the legislature.
Mr. Muhammed said the police would not open the complex until it got a court order asking it to do so to enable the lawmakers reconvene. He said the command would continue to protect the lawmakers and residents of the state, irrespective of the party affiliations.
The spokesperson also asked journalists to avoid sensational reportage of the crisis, but cross check their facts in order to avoid misleading the public.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned the six lawmakers in the state not to go ahead with their plan to hold a session at the state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the purpose of removing Mr. Amaechi.
The governor, alongside four other PDP governors, had on November 26 defected to APC.
The other governors are Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).
A statement by Chukwuemeka Eze, the media aide to the APC state chairman, said the warning had become necessary because of the “credible information” at its disposal that they were planning to hold a session at the secretariat with a view to impeaching Mr. Amaechi and proclaim Mr. Bipi governor.
The APC said the lawmakers, who it described as “rebels,” were planning to sit at the PDP secretariat after some hoodlums failed to smuggle them into the Assembly complex on Monday morning.
“The resort to sitting at the PDP Secretariat, we understand, is occasioned by the failure of the rebel lawmakers to gain access to the State House of Assembly, to which the police have also denied the majority 28 lawmakers access,” APC said.
“We have never seen where lawmakers sit in a party secretariat to carry out any business of the House and we wish to say in advance that any such action would be null and void and of no consequence whatsoever.
“We hereby warn Bipi and his co-conspirators to exercise restraint because there is a limit to rebellion.”
The party also asked the police to seal off the Rivers State PDP secretariat to prevent it from being used to perpetrate any illegality which, if allowed to be implemented, would trigger crisis of unimaginable proportions in the state and beyond.
Meanwhile, the APC interim chairman in the state, Davies Ikanya, has described as “sad and unfortunate,” a statement by the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, that Mr. Amaechi was going through the current crisis because he (Amaechi) underrated the minister.
Mr. Ikanya said Mr. Wike, who was behind the six lawmakers, had exposed himself not only as a selfish person, but had elevated his personal interest above that of the entire Rivers State.
“For goodness sake, this is an individual who benefited so much from Governor Amaechi and who was nominated as a Minister by Governor Amaechi, who stoutly defended him even when President Goodluck Jonathan queried his nomination,” he said.
“The good people of Rivers State now know that the state is plunged into this unnecessary crisis that has consumed resources that would have been used for the development and emancipation of the people of the state just because of an individual’s vindictive spirit.”
The chairman advised Mr. Wike to reflect on the good deeds that Mr. Amaechi had done for him and allow peace to prevail in the state, at least for the interest of the common man and the development of the state.