The opposition All Progressives Congress [APC] has directed its lawmakers in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals emanating from the presidency in protest against what it calls the impunity of the Police in Rivers state.
But the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has swiftly dismissed the directive, describing it as a call to anarchy and a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
Rising from its 8th regular meeting, the Interim National Executive Committee of the APC issued a communiqué directing its lawmakers to frustrate the passage of the 2014 budget as well as the confirmation of ministerial nominees and service chiefs.
“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 office until the rule of law and constitutionalism is restored in Rivers State in particular and Nigeria in general,” the communiqué reads in parts.
The oil-rich South-south state of Rivers has in the past one year been gripped by what appears an intractable political crises that have intermittently triggered violence in both the state House of Assembly and at political rallies organized by contending forces in the state.
The state government as well as the APC have repeatedly accused the Rivers state command of the police of siding with political opponents of Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
The APC reiterated its stand Thursday, saying the culture of lawlessness and impunity in the troubled state were being promoted and supported by the Presidency, and executed by the State Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu, who according to the APC, had become the de facto military governor of the state and the sole administrator of the PDP in the State.
The party listed some instances of the alleged brazen lawlessness and violations of the constitution by Mr. Mbu to include the forceful dispersal of 13,201 newly recruited teachers at the Port Harcourt Stadium using tear gas, as well as the blocking of the entrance to the Government House in Port Harcourt and forcing the state governor to use another entrance.
It also accused Mr. Mbu of preventing an aircraft chartered by Mr. Amaechi from flying, alleging the governor was trying to smuggle out a legislator wanted by the Police. The APC said no apology was offered to the governor even after it became clear the police acted based on falsehood.
The party also recalled how Mr. Mbu ordered the disruption of a peaceful rally during which Magnus Abe, a senator, was shot, an incident the APC believed was an intent to kill him.
The opposition party also accused Mr. Mbu of ordering several disruptions of rallies organized by the pro-Amaechi Save Rivers Group, and the unlawful detention of anybody perceived to be a sympathizer of Mr. Amaechi, while allowing pro-Jonathan and anti-Amaechi groups to organize rallies unmolested.
The APC interim NEC praised the “courage, maturity and political sagacity of Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in the face of serial unprovoked and unwarranted assaults on his person, his constitutional rights and those of the Government and People of Rivers State,”.
It said the conduct of Mr. Amaechi represented the party’s maturity and compliance with the rule of law in response to the escalating impunity in his state.
“The APC is very proud of him,” the communique said.
The party also said it had now resolved that should the impunity and lawlessness in Rivers continue unabated with the police portraying itself as an enforcement arm of the PDP to the detriment of its members, it would simply ask its members nationwide, but especially in Rivers State, to take whatever steps that are necessary to protect their lives and property.
A call to anarchy
But in a swift reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party, has described the APC directives to its lawmakers and members as a clear and direct call for anarchy.
The ruling party said the opposition’s call was a vindication of its earlier position that the APC was out to destroy Nigeria’s democracy and the unity of the nation.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement on Thursday night that with the anti-people directives, Nigerians could now see that the PDP was not crying wolf when it alerted them that the APC did not mean well for the nation.
“In asking that service chiefs should not be confirmed by he Senate, the APC has revealed its devilish plot to undermine the nation’s security system, create a state of anarchy and pave way to unleash mayhem on the people,” Mr. Metuh said.
He also said by trying to frustrate the passage of the 2014 budget, the APC had exposed its plot to cripple the nation’s economy and plunge the people into untold hardship.
“It is now clear to all Nigerians that the APC has commenced the implementation of its orchestrated plot to truncate the nation’s democracy, push the country into a state chaos and achieve its doomsday predictions; a plot which must be stopped,” the party said.