•Protesters clash with police at Speaker’s residence, Fubara’s kinsmen call for removal of Rivers CP
President Bola Tinubu and the Peoples Democratic Party governors on Tuesday halted the attempts to impeach Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
The President held discussions with the embattled governor and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, revealed this after the Nigeria Police Council’s first meeting under the Tinubu administration.
Wike and Fubara were both present at the meeting, which took place at the State House.
NewsNow reports that the two men were seen shaking hands.
However, security operatives obstructed the capture of photographs and videos of the moment, warning media organizations of eviction from the Presidential Villa if they published them.
Some cameramen told NewsNow that they were instructed not to take photographs or videos of the two men, and those who had already done so were asked not to release them.
Meanwhile, about 120 youths in Port Harcourt were arrested by the police for protesting against the impeachment proceedings against the governor.
Sources say the youths attempted to invade the official residence of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, but the police repelled them with gunshots.
The youths demanded Amaewhule’s eviction, claiming that he was no longer the House Speaker.
They tried to pull down the gates to the speaker’s residence, but the police swiftly responded and arrested some of them.
One of the youths was hit by a stray bullet and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
However, a member of the Ijaw Youths Council, who identified himself as Thankgod, condemned the arrests, stating, “We did not touch his (Amaewhule’s) gate. We were peacefully protesting what happened at the state House of Assembly.
“You know that some members (lawmakers) claimed to have signed a notice of impeachment against the governor, and we said it was illegal. It was a peaceful protest. You can see we are not armed.”
Online videos showed the arrested youths sitting on the premises of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Bureau in Port Harcourt.
Among those arrested was the State Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Chijioke Ihunwo.
Before his arrest, Ihunwo stated that the youths would continue their occupation until they were assured of Fubara’s safety.
He said, “I want to condemn what happened in the state on Monday, where a few individuals want to cause a crisis by impeaching Governor Fubara.”
When contacted, the spokesperson for the State Police Command, Grace Irnge-Koko, said she would find out the details and get back to our correspondent.
However, she has not done so as of the time of filing this report on Tuesday evening.
In the meantime, a senior police source confirmed the incident, stating, “About 200 people were arrested. One of them is the Chairman of NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo.
“One person was seriously injured. The arrested individuals are currently in custody.”
NewsNow was unable to independently verify the source’s claim.
However, an official police source stated that at least 120 protesters were arrested by the police.
In response to the arrests, the Spokesman for the Ijaw Youths Council, Worldwide, Bedford Benjamin, confirmed the incident but stated that the youth had no intention of attacking Amaewhule’s residence.
Benjamin said the aggrieved youth were engaged in a peaceful protest and criticized the decision of security agents to use force against them.
He mentioned that there were reports of someone being killed by the bullets, and that many protesters were injured.
One of the arrested youths, Chijioke Ihunwo, who is also the Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State chapter, had earlier stated that the occupation would continue until Fubara’s safety was ensured.
He said, “I want to condemn what happened in the state on Monday, where a few individuals want to cause a crisis by impeaching Governor Fubara.
“It is uncalled for. This is just the beginning, and we are going to occupy the streets. We are saying no to godfatherism. The youths will occupy the streets because we have a governor who is passionate about Rivers youths.”
This incident took place 24 hours after 26 state lawmakers attempted to oust Fubara over alleged breaches.
Bauchi Governor’s Statement
Confirming Tinubu’s intervention after the meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, the Bauchi State governor remarked, “The President is on a call; He is speaking to both parties to defuse the tension.”
The former FCT Minister further explained, “We had a closed session where very serious national issues that have security implications were discussed. That is the problem emerging in Rivers.
“The President, in his usual leadership position, intervened, and then it will appear there will be peace in that respect. He has shown that he is a President for everybody. A President of the PDP and a president of the APC by intervening today and bringing relief to the people of Rivers and Nigeria.
“He made sure he did not use his power to suppress us as the opposition. We consider this very positive. Going forward, we pledge to work with him to bring good governance to the people of Nigeria.”
In addition, PDP governors have also intervened in the crisis.
The Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Mohammed, released a communiqué following a meeting of the group at the Oyo State Lodge in Abuja, commending the President for his intervention in the political crisis in Rivers State.
He said, “The PDP governors were alarmed by the recent developments in Rivers State and welcome the President’s intervention to put an end to the crisis. The meeting urged all parties involved in the Rivers State crisis to stop their activities and seek peaceful means of resolution.
“The forum also offers its platform for a quick and fair resolution of the issues at hand.”
After reading a prepared speech, Mohammed explained that the crisis between Wike and Fubara had been resolved.
He said, “As you can see, Governor Wike is here; he has resolved the matter with his mentor.”
Meanwhile, leaders of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, who are the kinsmen of the Rivers governor, have called on the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to redeploy the State Commissioner of Police, Emeke Nwonyi, following the crisis at the State House of Assembly and the attack on the governor on Monday.
The kinsmen, under the aegis of ‘Ida Obolo Sim Vanguard,’ a pro-Peoples Democratic Party support group, condemned the actions of the Nigeria Police Force, stating that it was embarrassing that CP Nwonyi’s command allowed the ill-treatment of the governor without professionalism.
Gogo-Ogute Isaiah, a former Chairman of the Andoni Local Government Area, called for the immediate redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, describing him as incompetent.
Isaiah expressed disappointment that even though the State House of Assembly was located near the State Police Headquarters where the CP’s office is, the destruction of the House and the attack on Fubara were not prevented.
He stated, “I condemn the activities of the Nigerian Police Force, Rivers State Command, regarding the incident that took place two days ago. The State House of Assembly was burned and destroyed right in front of the Police Headquarters where the Rivers State House of Assembly is situated.
“We suspect the police of instigating this problem in the state. The police failed to investigate and prove their competence in handling the security affairs of this state, and that is why this ugly incident happened right under their noses.
“All we saw was the Commissioner of Police embarrassing our Governor, with his men teargassing and spraying water on him. That is the worst embarrassment, and we did not expect it from the police.
“I am calling on the Inspector-General of Police to immediately redeploy the Rivers State Commissioner of Police because he is incompetent. He cannot handle the security affairs of this state, so he should be redeployed.”
Similarly, the Leader of the Ida Obolo Sim Vanguard, Kingston Sylvanus, condemned the actions of Hon. Ofiks Kagbank, a lawmaker in the state assembly and their kinsman, stating that Kagbank was among the 24 lawmakers who signed the impeachment process against the governor.
Sylvanus, a former LGA Chairman of Andoni, declared their support for Fubara, saying, “Nothing and nobody can stop an idea or a person whose time has come.’
He said, “Within your few days in office, you initiated the re-award and construction of the Andoni Unity Road, which had been abandoned for the past 24 years.
“It is in this context that we express our shock and utter dismay at the shameful, selfish, and despicable action of Hon. Ofiks Kagbank, the member representing Andoni at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Wike also met with leaders of ethnic nationalities from the Niger Delta region in Abuja on Tuesday.
While addressing the leaders, the minister dismissed reports of calls for his dismissal by the President but did not address the allegations of his involvement in the impeachment proceedings against his successor, Fubara.
He reiterated his commitment to remain focused and emphasized the importance of supporting President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.
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