Rivers: Protests as IG extends LG secretariats’ barricade

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The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun on Thursday, stated that his officers would remain at the Rivers State Local Government secretariats until the court rules on the local government chairmen tenure extension crisis in the state.

A clash occurred on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, over the tenure of Local Government Council Chairmen, resulting in the deaths of a police officer and a vigilante member.

The three-year terms of the 23 LG chairmen ended on Monday, but they insisted on staying in office, citing the Local Government Amendment Law 2024 enacted by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

This law, passed by 27 lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital, Nyesom Wike, allows the chairmen to remain in office for six more months due to the failure of Governor Siminalayi Fubara to hold local government elections.

On Wednesday, Fubara swore in 23 caretaker committee chairmen in Port Harcourt to man LGs. This was after protesting youths dislodged the LG chairmen whose tenure expired on Monday.

However, the police denied Fubara caretaker chairmen access to their offices across the LGAs.

This was following an announcement by the state police command on Tuesday that it had taken control of all LG council headquarters to prevent further bloodshed and maintain law and order.

Speaking during a meeting with commanders in Abuja, the IGP stated that the barricades would remain until the court reached a decision on the matter.

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The IG noted that this was to prevent further loss of lives.

He said, “You are all aware that in what happened two, three days ago, we lost a police inspector. We are sad about that. We don’t want to lose more men.

“We don’t want to lose more Nigerians. We don’t want to lose more citizens of Rivers State. So, we have a duty to prevent the breakdown of law and order.

“And that’s why we have our men taking over the secretariat while we await the outcome of the case in court. As soon as the court makes its pronouncement, we will remove the barricade.”

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