The Rivers State Police Thursday barred the 26 members of the state House of Assembly loyal to the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, from sitting in compliance with a court order.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ruled that the state Assembly in not incapable of conducting its affairs, thus preventing the National Assembly from taking over its legislative duties.
But as the 26 members converged to hold a plenary at the State Assembly Complex, the police stormed the place and sealed off the building.
Undeterred, the lawmakers tried to hold their meeting outside, but again the police stopped them by firing gunshots and tear-gas into the air.
Video clips of the event aired by some local tv stations, showed that some persons were injured in the ensuing commotion.
Comfirming the incident, the state commissioner of information, Ibim Semenitari, said it is “an indication of the impunity ravaging the country and a clear indication that the PDP under the present leadership has lost all forms of democratic conduct.”
The state police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, could not be reached for comments at this time.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rivers State Chapter, has blamed governor Ameachi for Thursday’s crisis and accused him of employing the services of thugs and hooligans to further threaten the peace of the state.
The party alleged that “armed thugs” who are neither members nor staff of the legislative assembly drove into the complex in buses with some legislators loyal to the governor to cause disturbance in the course of a sitting.
Special adviser to the state chairman of the party, Jerry Needam, commended the Police for its role in
“preventing what would have resulted to another face of chaos at the Assembly Complex.”
The PDP also advised the governor to appeal against the Court’s judgment if he feels uncomfortable with it, rather than squandering the wealth of the state on street thugs.
“The Party unequivocally says the action of the Governor is unacceptable and will not sit down and watch the State completely destroyed by him (Amaechi) and those who do not want progress and meaningful development in the State,” Needam said.
The PDP also reiterated that Evans Bipi remains the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, adding that it would not fail to ensure that he resumes proceeding in the House accordingly and as provided by the law.
The Party called on the Police Authorities to continue to ensure that the Assembly is safe for “normal” activities.