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Monday, July 15, 2024

Traditional rulers speak out on calls for state of emergency in Rivers

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Traditional rulers in Rivers State have urged President Bola Tinubu to ignore calls for a state of emergency to be declared in the state.

This was stated in a statement issued at the end of the meeting of the Local Government Area Council of Traditional Rulers Chairmen’s Forum in the state held on Monday in Port Harcourt.

The statement was endorsed by all the 23 local government chairmen at the forum, except that of Emohua Local Government Area, Sergeant Awuse, who was recently sacked as the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers by Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Governor Fubara, after sacking Mr. Awuse last month, announced Chike Worlu-Wodo, a traditionalist from Obio/Akpor, another Ikwerre speaking local government area of ​​the state, as his replacement.

The political crisis that rocked oil-rich Rivers State last month turned violent after former elected chairmen of local councils in the state refused to step down after their three-year terms expired.

The former council chairmen are loyal to former Governor Nyesom Wike, the current FCT minister, who is at odds with his successor, Mr Fubara.

Violence, resulting in the deaths of two people, including a police officer, broke out after suspected Fubara supporters stormed several council secretariats in the state and demanded that former officials step down from their posts.

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Police, in an effort to prevent further disruption of public order, have ordered their officers to take charge of all 23 state council secretariats, pending a ruling by the Court of Appeal on an appeal filed by pro-Wike lawmakers.

In the wake of the violence, Tony Okocha, the caretaker committee chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the state, alleging that there is a full-blown war, Punch newspaper reported.

“Rivers State is at war and the dramatic characters responsible for the mayhem that has claimed lives are known,” Okocha said at a press conference in Port Harcourt on June 19, hours after Fubara inaugurated the caretaker committees of the state’s 23 councils.

“The governor cannot do anything. The Rivers State APC is calling for a state of emergency in the state as a way of controlling the chaos and outbreak of violence that is taking place in the state.

“I call on the Federal Government to act quickly in this regard,” said Okocha, an ally of the FCT minister.

Ignoring calls for a state of emergency

Speaking at a press conference, the first after the inauguration of the new chairmen of the forum, traditional rulers in the state said the call for a state of emergency in the state by “disgruntled elements” was unjustifiable. They, therefore, urged President Tinubu to ignore such calls.

READ ALSO: Fubara appoints 23 non-indigenous people to interim committees for local councils

“The Council urges President Tinubu to ignore the call for a state of emergency in Rivers State as such a call cannot be justified in a state that is peaceful and has continued to host several international seminars, symposiums and workshops with a history of peaceful nightlife.

“(The Council) condemns in the strongest terms the incitement to violence in our various communities and kingdoms by some overzealous politicians as a way of preparing the ground for anarchy, bloodshed and total collapse of law and order as a precursor to the call for a state of emergency,” the statement said in parts.

The traditional rulers have called on the country’s police authorities not to meddle in the “politically instigated crisis” in the state but to deal with it professionally. The traditional rulers added that they regret that the state police have taken sides in the issues.

The traditional rulers urged Governor Fubara to remain steadfast in his commitment to delivering good governance to the people of the state and not be deterred by “attempts by certain individuals and groups to derail his vision for the state.”

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