Anxiety as Rivers Govt issues ultimatum to LG Chairmen to vacate councils

…Police tighten security, as youths dare Chairmen to resume

By Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

Anxiety has gripped Rivers State following the ultimatum issued to Local council Chairmen to vacate their offices following the expiration of their tenure.

Some youths on Monday prevented the Chairmen from resuming at the office while singing war songs, appeared battle ready as they insisted that they would not allow the chairmen to remain in office after serving out their tenure.

The angry youths said they will remain there to ensure the outgoing local government chairman does not return to the council.

Singing in their local dialects, the youths chorused that the council chairman has failed, saying, ‘He is a failure. You must go.’

At Asari-Toru Local Government Area, hundreds of youths stormed the council headquarters in Degema and occupied the facility.

Many of the youths were seen in different groups in front of the secretariat and the entire stretch of the road leading to the entrance, even as some could be heard saying, ‘Asawana’ a popular slang among the Ijaws which signifies solidarity, even as others arrive the scene in droves.

The youths said they will remain until Wednesday when work resumes and dared the council chairmen to come to the secretariat.

Reports from the 23 LGAs indicate that the Chairmen of councils, councilors and the entire council workers did not turn up for duties given  the fact that yesterday was a public holiday to mark Eid-el-Kabir.

NewsDirect  gathered that ex-agitator and warlord, Alh Asari Dokubo and his boys had as early as 6am besieged headquarters of the three Kalabari local government areas of Asari-Toru,Akuku-Toru and Degema, baricading  their gates to prevent the chairmen and their aides from gaining access into the council premises.

Asari was quoted to have told the outgoing chairmen to go home, as their tenures have expired.

It was also reported that the Police  took over the council headquarters of Port Harcourt City, Obio-Akpor and Ahoada East local government areas, possibly to prevent breakdown of law and order in the State.

This came on the heels of threats from some council chairmen that they won’t leave office at the expiration of their tenures.

Notable among them were Ikwerre Council Chairman, Samuel Nwaosike,Emohua- Council Chairman, Dr Chidi Lloyd  and Eleme Chairman, Abarilor Mate Ollor.

However, feelers from the closed door stakeholders meeting at Government House, presided over by Gov Siminalayi Fubara indicated that the Council Chairmen will be given up to 12midnight today to vacate their seats,or risk the consequence of disobedience.

Responding to the perceived political instability that may erupt, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Olatunji Disu, declared his readiness to protect the lives and properties of the people of the state.

Speaking in Port Harcourt, Disu warned individuals against taking the law into their hands. He stressed that anyone found doing so would face the full wrath of the law.

Disu said, “My job as a police policeman is to protect lives and properties. And that is what we have gone out to do since morning.

“We are aware of the crisis that has to do with the tenure of the Local Government Chairmen and we have gotten one court order or the other.

“And the Court of Appeal has given an order for everybody to exercise restraints till the 20th of this month — just three days.

“So we expect everybody to respect it and not take laws into their hands and allow peace to continue as it is,” he said.

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