Home Politics Rivers Conflict: International group warns ex LG Chairmen against anarchy

Rivers Conflict: International group warns ex LG Chairmen against anarchy

by Edit

….Charges Security agents to be at red alert

By Michael Agbaji

Port Harcourt – A foremost international human rights group, has sent strong warning to the immediate past Chairmen of various Local Government Councils in Rivers State, to desist from their plan to cause anarchy or crisis in the state.

The Human Rights Advocacy Network (HRAN), also called on relevant security agencies, especially the Nigerian Police and Department of State Security (DSS), to be proactive and watch out for anyone who may wish to cause anything that would lead to break down of law and order in the state.

The tenure of the Local Government Council Chairmen came to an end today, 17th June, 2024.

But Emohua Local Council boss, Chidi Lloyd, and few others from the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, had vowed not to vacate office after June 17, stating that the tenure of the Chairmen had been extended for six months by the state Assembly.

A statement signed on Monday, by Mr. David Mathew, the Country Rep of Human Rights Advocacy Network
(HRAN), however, said the purported tenure elongation by the aborted Hon. Martins Amaewhule-led House of Assembly, had been quashed by a court of competent jurisdiction.

“We read of the threats and promise to breach the peace and harmony in Rivers State by the immediate past local government chairmen in Rivers State, whose tenure expired by 12 noon today,June 17th, 2024.

“According to the chairmen, their tenure was extended by six months by the Martins Amaewhule-led assembly, which amended Local Government Law Number 5 of 2018, amidst the political crisis in the state.

“It is necessary to remind the immediate past local government chairmen that, less than a month ago, a Rivers State High Court presided over by Justice Daketima Kio, nullified the six months tenure elongation of the state’s local government chairmen granted by the Martins Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

“The Judge made the order while delivering judgment in a case filed by Enyiada Cookey-Gam & 6 Ors vs. The Governor of Rivers State & Ors.

“Justice Daketima Kio declared the Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, whose provisions extended the tenure of local government chairmen, invalid.

“The Judge ruled that the law was inconsistent with the 1999 constitution and section 9(1) of Rivers State Law No. 5 of 2018, which fixed three-year tenure for local government chairmen and councillors.

“The Judge stressed that the attempt to extend the tenure was unlawful and violated the officials’ oath of office.

“That judgement of the Rivers State High which nullified the extension of the tenure of local government chairmen in Rivers State is yet to be set aside”, the statement said.

The Human Rights group added that, “It therefore means, the claims by the immediate past local government chairmen is unknown to law, mischievous, criminal and an invitation to anarchy.

“We use this opportunity to caution the local government chairmen to desist from any plot to cause anarchy in Rivers State.

“Their refusal to leave office is not just unlawful but also treasonable”.

The group therefore, called on security agencies, “to ensure that all the 23 local government chairmen are monitored closely to ensure they don’t breach the law of the land”.

Already, some youths were seen blocking the main entrances to Degema and Asari-Toru
LGA secretariats, chanting songs in solidarity and demanding the departure of the council’s Chairmen.

The youths vowed to remain at the gate till Wednesday to stop the Chairmen and other elected officials from gaining access to their offices.

Scores of armed youths, suspected to be surveillance workers, were also seen in a viral video parading the creeks of riverine Local councils.

It would be recalled that a state High Court in Port Harcourt had, last month, nullified the tenure extension of the 23 local council Chairmen, declaring the Local Government Law No.2 of 2024, which extended the tenure of the Chairmen for six months after expiration of their tenure, as invalid.

Also, the Appeal Court, in its ruling last weekend, urged both parties in the matter to maintain the status quo.

Both the camp loyal to the Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike and those loyal to the Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, have since laid claims to the Appeal Court judgement, saying it favoured them.

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