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  • News - South South - Rivers
  • Updated: June 16, 2024

Intervene in Rivers political crisis — Group urges NASS

Intervene in Rivers political crisis — Group urges NASS

The Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, a civil society organization, has urged the National Assembly to intervene in the crisis unfolding in Rivers State to prevent escalating chaos.

Speaking at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, the group expressed concern over the ongoing feud between the executive and legislative arms of government in the state.

Igbini Emmanuel, the National President of the organization, stressed the urgent need for the National Assembly to invoke the 'Doctrine of Necessity' to restore stability and prevent a breakdown of law and order.

Emmanuel noted the approaching end of the three-year tenure of the 23 Local Government Councils on June 17 as a critical concern. 

He pointed out that the political tension between Governor Similaye Fubara and his estranged political mentor, Nyesom Wike, has intensified, raising fears of potential unrest.

Warning that failure to address these tensions promptly could jeopardize peace and lead to widespread disorder in Rivers State, Emmanuel called on the National Assembly to take decisive action to safeguard public safety and uphold democratic processes.

He said, “It is sadly an undeniable fact that the state is right now facing grave and imminent danger with both opposing political groups gearing for full-blown war on June 17 and days after, the takeover and control of the administration of the local government councils.’’

Emmanuel said that with the conflicting court judgments and pending suits, relating to the lawful members and leadership of the state assembly, there existed no legislative organ to make laws for peace, order and good governance of the state as stipulated by Section 4(6) of the Constitution.

“We are all aware that the majority of the incumbent chairmen of the LG councils have publicly vowed never to exit their positions on June 17, 2024, on the ground that the House of Assembly, led by Martin Amaewhule, had amended the state LG law mandating the chairmen to continue on their positions, if the council election was not conducted,” he said.

He argued that the above scenario “clearly establishes the undeniable fact that Rivers is facing grave and actual danger.”

He feared that the peace, security and well-being of the people of Rivers might not be guaranteed if urgent steps were not taken to arrest the situation.

The group therefore implored NASS “to immediately invoke the doctrine of necessity in Rivers, to prevent the impending breakdown of law and order until such a time the state Assembly was able to resume its functions.”

It further argued that “by the express provisions of sections 4 and 11(4) of the Constitution, NASS “has the constitutional power to make laws for the peace, order, good government of the federation or any part thereof and for any state at any time the House of Assembly is unable to perform its functions by reason of the situation prevailing in that state.”

The group called for the setting up of a five-member interim management committee comprising men and women drawn from the academia, judiciary, and religious groups, including professional bodies and non-governmental organisations, for each council.

It recommended that members of the committee “must be indigenes of the respective local government areas, who are not members of any political party and not known to be supporters or close associates of the governor or his predecessor.”

The group also recommended that the committee should administer the councils for not more than three months during which local government elections should be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

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