July 15, 2024

Tension is palpable across the 23 local government areas in Rivers State as the tenure of the council chairmen ends today, June 17, 2024, at midnight. This unrest is fueled by the chairmen’s decision to remain in office, citing the Local Government Amendment Law No. 2 of 2024, enacted by the Martin Amaewhule-led 27-member House of Assembly, which extends their tenure by six months.

Key Developments:

  1. ALGON Stance: The State ALGON Chairman, Allwell Ihunda, who is also the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, insists that the law empowers them to stay in office.
  2. Governor’s Position: Governor Siminalayi Fubara has warned the LG chairmen to avoid actions that could disrupt state peace, emphasizing that their tenure is ending soon.
  3. Legislative Actions: Former Speaker Amaewhule has cautioned against appointing caretaker committee members, stating the lawmakers’ refusal to accept such appointments.
  4. Youth Protests:
    • In Degema, youths occupied the council secretariat, blocking entrances and declaring they won’t allow the LG chairman to stay beyond his tenure.
    • In Asari-Toru LGA, youths stormed the council headquarters, demonstrating their resolve by gathering in large numbers and chanting in solidarity.
  5. Security Measures:
    • In Port Harcourt City LGA and Obio/Akpor LGA, a significant security presence, including over six police patrol vans, was noted to prevent disturbances.
  6. Warnings from Outgoing Chairmen:
    • Eleme LGA Chairman, Obarilomate Ollor, has threatened to resist any forceful attempts to remove him from office, stressing the official nature of the council premises.

The situation in Rivers State remains tense as the expiration of the LG chairmen’s tenure approaches, with youth protests and legislative disagreements adding to the uncertainty.

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