Rivers Crisis: Senate Indicts Jonathan, Wife

July 26, 2013 |

The crisis at the Rivers State House of Assembly on July 9, 2013, was the expression of deep-rooted political crisis occasioned by the alleged highhandedness of Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi and the perceived undue interference with the political and security structure of the state by President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience and the national hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a Senate report considered and adopted at plenary declared yesterday.

The Senate in its report also called on the inspector-general of police, Mohammed Abubakar, to “immediately” redeploy the commissioner of police, Rivers State command, Mr Joseph Mbu, since, according to the federal lawmakers, “his relationship with the governor has broken down irretrievably”.

Mbu has been fingered severally by the Amaechi camp as a hatchet man in the lingering Rivers crisis.

“Mbu has refused to cooperate with the governor, Chibuike Amaechi, on matters of security even though the governor is the chief security officer of the state,” the report observed.

Again, the upper house in the report of the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration concurred with the resolutions of the House of Representatives and resolved to take over legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Senate president David Mark is also to mediate in the crisis between the feuding factions in the Assembly.

A crisis had engulfed the Rivers Assembly when five members out of 32 attempted to impeach the speaker, Hon Otelemaba Amachree. The confusion that followed led to violence among the state lawmakers with videos of the violence circulated on the social media

In the Senate report’s findings and observations obtained by LEADERSHIP, it was observed that Amaechi’s insistence to run for second term as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) did not go down well with the PDP and the presidency.

Citing feedback from “stakeholders” involved in the Rivers Assembly crisis, the report observed that the order of the FCT High Court, Abuja, of April 16, 2013, dissolving the Rivers State PDP Executive led by Chief Godspower Ake and confirming Hon. Felix Obuah as the authentic winner of the 2012 congress of the party in the state did not go down well with some members of the PDP who believed that the FCT High Court had no jurisdiction to have entertained the case.

The report stated that commissioner of police Mbu took over the party secretariat in the state upon knowledge of the Abuja High Court judgement and immediately withdrew the security details to the former chairman, Godspower Ake – a development that culminated in the assassination of an aide to Godspower Ake, Mr Eric Ezenekwe, by unidentified gunmen in the state.

Also, the suspension of Amaechi by the PDP National Working Committee on May 27 “did not go down well with his supporters,” the Senate report observed.

The report stated that the deployment of the current state police commissioner and three service commanders within six months created room for suspicion.

According to the report, “The security situation in Rivers State has deteriorated in the last six months, with high number of cases of kidnapping, cultism, bunkering and the gradual return of militants to the streets thereby threatening public peace.”

It faulted the impeachment of the Rivers Assembly speaker, Hon. Amachree, by five House members led by Hon. Evans Bipi. The report insisted that the purported impeachment is not compliance with the provisions of Section 92(2)(c) of the 1999 Constitution and contrary to Order 12 and 28 of the Rivers State House of Assembly Standing Orders, 1999.

The Senate report further accused Hon. Evans Bipi of bringing thugs to the chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The Senate report reads in part: “…The security personnel were insufficiently proactive in preventing and addressing the crisis at the Rivers State House of Assembly and the operational planning and response to the crisis.

“The crowd further forced their way into the chambers and interrupted the sitting of the House, and majority of the Honourable members had to run out of the Chambers for their safety.

“The Honourable Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amachree, and Hon. Chidi Llyod were assaulted by Hon. Evans Bipi which precipitated the crisis.

“Hon, Chidi Liyod used the Mace, which is the symbol of authority, to brutalise Hon. Michael Chinda.

“The governor of Rivers State rushed to the House of Assembly complex to salvage the situation on receipt of a distress call from a member of the House.

“Some security personnel particularly those in green and blue berets were actively engaged in a free for all figh in the Chambers on 9 July 2013.

“The security details to Governor Amaechi disarmed a policeman who cocked his gun to shoot and the policeman was injured in the process.”

The House of Representatives had on July 10 passed A resolution to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers Assembly and invoked section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), thereby taking over legislative transactions in the assembly.

Category: Politics

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