Rivers Crisis: Policeman Killed Amidst Protests Against Pro-Wike LG Chairmen

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Rivers State witnessed intensified turmoil on Tuesday as youths loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara clashed with supporters of former governor and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike. The violent confrontations led to the death of a police officer and escalated tensions over the tenure of 23 local government chairmen.**

Youths Dislodge Local Government Chairmen

The conflict centered around the expiration of the three-year terms of the 23 local government chairmen on Monday. Despite their terms ending, the chairmen, citing the Local Government Amendment Law 2024, refused to vacate their offices. This law, passed by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly, allowed them to remain in office for an additional six months due to the state’s failure to conduct local government elections.

Fatal Clashes in Eberi-Omuma

The most serious incident occurred at Eberi-Omuma in the Omuma Local Government Area, where a policeman and a member of the local vigilante group were killed during clashes. The police officer was reportedly killed in retaliation after allegedly shooting the vigilante member. The state police confirmed the deaths and announced an investigation into the causes.

Protests and Police Intervention

In response to the unrest, police took control of all 23 council secretariats to prevent further violence. Youths in various local government areas, including Port Harcourt City, Kalabari-speaking areas, and Obio/Akpor, occupied council secretariats, preventing chairmen from accessing their offices. They were enforcing Governor Fubara’s directive for heads of local government administrations to assume control from Wednesday.

Tensions in Port Harcourt and Beyond

In Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, outgoing chairman Allwell Ihunda narrowly escaped an assault by protesting Ijaw youths. The confrontation escalated with security forces firing into the air to disperse the crowd. Similar protests occurred in other local government areas, including Emuoha, Eleme, and Obio/Akpor, where council secretariats were occupied and properties damaged.

Official Reactions

Governor Fubara, in a state-wide broadcast, condemned the actions of the chairmen and insisted on the enforcement of his directives. He assured the public that the law would be upheld and called for peace. Meanwhile, outgoing chairmen and their supporters, particularly those aligned with Nyesom Wike, continued to resist, leading to ongoing tensions and violence.

The Rivers State Police Command has vowed to maintain order and protect public infrastructure, urging all parties to remain peaceful and abide by the law. The situation remains volatile as both sides prepare for further developments in this political and legal standoff.


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