Policeman, vigilante feared killed over Rivers LG tenure crisis, Fubara summons emergency meeting

In the midst of the deepening security crisis at the local government level within Rivers state, Governor Siminalayi Fubara has summoned an emergency security council meeting.

The crisis followed alleged threat by the 23 local government chairmen and ward councillors, whose three-year tenure elapsed, Monday, to invade the council secretariats.

In a state-wide broadcast, Tuesday, the governor directed the heads of local government administration to take charge of council affairs from Wednesday, June 19, pending further directives.

Blueprint gathered there were sporadic shootings at the Port Harcourt City  local government council secretariat as well as that of Obio/Akpor, Emohua, Eleme and Khana by yet-to-be identified persons.

The council chairs, elected under the Nyesom Wike-led administration, had vowed not to leave office after their tenure expired Monday, June 17, 2024.

They hinged their position on the local government amendment law, effected by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

By the new law, the tenure of the council chairmen was extended by six months, following the refusal of the incumbent administration in the state to conduct local government elections.

But the police have assured of adequate security, warning that any threat to the security of lives and property would be severely dealt with.

…Fubara summons meeting

Summoning the security council meeting, the governor said: “You are all aware that the tenure of the council chairmen ended yesterday, 17th June, 2024, and today, we have ordered the Heads of Local Government Administration to be in charge while they await further directives.

“It’s really unfortunate that we started hearing some disturbing news from some LGAs of invasion of council secretariats, and it is really unfortunate. So, we have called the Security Council Meeting so that the needful will be done.

“We are also aware that our enemy is also planning a lot of things. But we will not fall into that plot. We will not also allow him or them to destroy the peace that we are enjoying in the State.”

…Cop, vigilante killed, LC chair escapes death

And in the midst of the tension, a policeman and a member of Omuma Security Planning and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) were feared killed in Omuma local government area of the state.

Unconfirmed source said two people were reportedly gunned down in the local government area during an ensuing melee.

In yet another report, the Rivers state Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Allwell Ihunda, was said to have escaped death by whiskers when he was chased by some irate youth along Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, Tuesday.

The outgoing chairman of Port Harcourt City local government area was said to be on his way to the council secretariat in company of his aides at the time the youth struck.

According to multiple sources, the council chair was barely out of his vehicle to step into the secretariat when he was confronted  by some stern-looking youth  at the gate.

Pandemonium broke out immediately and Ihunda, aided by his security details, had to hurriedly jump into his vehicle as the youth attempted attacking him.

And as he drove off after surviving the attack, the youth severally shot into the air in a moment of confusion and gave him a hot chase.

 …Police assure

Notwithstanding the seeming breakdown of law and order, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, has reassured residents of adequate protection of lives and property.  

Briefing journalists Tuesday at the State Police headquarters, the CP said his men were on ground to counter any forces or unforeseen circumstances that could cause the breach of peace, stressing that the command was aware of the local government council tenure-related crisis.

 The CP equally informed that, “we have gotten one court order and the Court of Appeal has asked everyone to exercise restraint till the 20th of this month, which he said is just about 3 days ahead, even as he called on members of the public, especially parents, not to allow their children for any political moves but to respect the law and allow peace reign.”

Asked about their level of preparedness, Disu responded thus: “Our officers are on ground to counter any criminal and destabilizing forces,” even as he lauded the efforts of his men.

“We are not taking it lightly. We are ready to go all out and our officers are there. This is just to reassure members of the public we are on ground to perform our duty,” he added.