Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IT GOT WORSE! A report on what went down at the Rivers House of Assembly (WATCH)

Not on my watch: Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi
by Isi Esene
Forces loyal to the Rivers state governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi in the state House of Assembly engaged in a brawl yesterday with members opposed to the governor who claim to have ousted the Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree.
In the confusion that ensued, members of the House loyal to the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi led by the House leader, Chidi Lloyd staged a violent comeback seizing the Mace, the Chamber’s symbol of authority, and chasing their opponents in what appeared to be a bus-park squabble.
In a graphic video made available by TVC News, Lloyd was seen pummeling another member, Kelechi Wogu (representing Obio/Akpor constituency) ruthlessly with the Mace and the newly installed speaker, Evans Bipi desperately searching for an escape route.
Earlier in the day, Hon. Lloyd and Speaker, Amachree were said to have received a serious beat-down from anti-Amaechi members including Evans Bipi.

Lloyd told journalists that “Hon. Evans Bipi came to me in full glare and rained punches on me. As his leader, I didn’t respond. Then he reached for the tripod and used it freely on me together with Hon. Chinda.”
At least four members of the House of Assembly were injured in the attack which caught many workers in the Assembly Complex by surprise.

Hon. Chidi Lloyd hospitalised
In a reaction to the unfortunate incident, the commissioner for information, Ibim Semenitari spoke to the press saying the governor, who later visited the Assembly complex, was there to make sure that the rule of law prevailed.
According to her, the governor’s presence was to mediate among the lawmakers.
She said, “Governor Chibuike Amaechi upon hearing that there was a fight went into the Assembly so that he could secure lives and properties and make sure that nobody is injured, so along with his own security from Government House, went to the Assembly, upon getting there he was actually attacked, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu was heard telling some people shoot him, shoot him, at this point the leader of the Assembly has to put himself in front of the Governor to prevent the governor from receiving those attacks.”
She accused politicians from outside the state of making an attempt to take over governance of the state.
“It’s the worst embarrassment that Rivers State has ever witnessed because Rivers State has never witnessed this kind of situation ever before,” she said.
rivers state fracas
Hon. Chidi Lloyd attacking a colleague with the Mace
The state commissioner of police, Mbu Joseph, also addressed the press over the incident saying Hon. Lloyd had requested the intervention of the police but by the time his men arrived the scene of the mayhem the complex had been cordoned off by soldiers supposedly invited by the governor.
He said, “The governor called me and said he was coming to the assembly and he complained that there was no police cover in the complex. Then I told him ‘but you have filled everywhere with security men from other places.’
Shortly after I heard a convoy approaching and saw the governor entering the complex through my window. Later I was told he was there while serious fighting was going on in the complex, and later he came out.”
The River State House of Assembly is made up of thirty two members with twenty seven said to be loyal to the governor, and five loyal to the Nyesom Wike faction of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
To underscore the disunity on ground, the Rivers state executive of the PDP led by Felix Obuah have sent its congratulations to Evans Bipi over his emergence as speaker; while another faction controlled by the ousted chairman, G. U Ake insists that Amachree remains the speaker of the House.
It is not clear where the pendulum swings after this show of shame by both sides of the political divide in Rivers state but what is obvious is that there is undue tension, the gladiators are no longer at ease and the centre cannot hold.
- See the video of the attack below showing the destruction of the House symbol of authority, the computer hardware and other assembly complex paraphernalia destroyed.

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