New Telegraph

Tension In Rivers As Youths Seize Two Council Areas

There is tension in Rivers State as the tenure of elected council chairmen ended midnight Monday, with youths taking over the council secretariat of Degema and Asari Toru Local Government Areas.

With unfavourable court judgement against the council chairmen, who are pro-Nyesom Wike, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), they lawfully stopped being chairmen on Monday, June 17.

The embattled former Speaker Amaewhule had warned Governor Fubara against nominating caretaker committee members to fill vacant positions, stressing that such move won’t be accepted.

But some of the council chairmen have vowed to remain in office, warning against their eviction from the council secretariat, where youths loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara have threatened to take control of until a new set of chairmen are elected or appointed on a caretaker capacity.

In the early hours of Monday, youths in
Degema Local Government Area secretariat took control of the main entrance, and demanded that the council’s Chairman, Michael John Williams leave with his belongings and supporters.

They sang solidarity songs and warned that they would defend democracy with everything they have, noting that they
would remain at the gate till Wednesday to stop Williams and other elected officials from gaining access their offices.

At nearby Asari-Toru Local Government Secretariat, youths blocked the gate and stopped the council chairman and others from gaining access to the area.

Within the riverine areas, some armed youths, believed to be surveillance workers loyal to ex militant leaders paraded the creeks in a viral video.

But at the Port Harcourt City LGA, over four patrol vans of policemen were stationed at the gate to prevent possible breakdown of law and order.

But in Eleme LGA, the outgoing chairman, Obarilomate Ollor, warned against any move to forcefully remove him and his supporters from the council, stressing that they will be resisted.

Ollor, who spoke at the first Annual General Meeting of the Aleto Clan Association held in Port Harcourt said he had gotten wind of plans to invade the council on June 17th.

He said: “Some people are ganging up, they want to use force to enter into the local government. Let me tell you, the local government is not a community town hall or students union secretariat.

“That is a government facility. So stay away from there except the law permits you to go there.”

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