Police Barricade Rivers House of Assembly, Disperse Protesters With Tear Gas

The Rivers State Police Command has dispersed a crowd at the state House Of Assembly with tear gas, after the state lawmakers held their plenary on the streets outside their premises.

Twenty-five out of the 26 members of the house had converged on the assembly earlier on Thursday to sit in compliance with a High Court order barring the National Assembly from taking over the functions of the assembly.

Trouble began to brew after the police barricaded the entrance to the state House of Assembly, forcing the lawmakers to hold their plenary in the open.

The lawmakers had gone to the House of Assembly with the intention of resuming the business of law-making after a Federal High Court in Abuja voided the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court faulted the decision on the ground that the National Assembly cannot assume the law making functions of the House of Assembly when there were no facts that the assembly was unable to carry out its functions.

In nullifying the resolution, Justice Abubakar Mohammed restrained the Senate, the Senate President, the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives from assuming the law making functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court also ruled that “the National Assembly does not have the powers to direct the Inspector-General of Police to re-deploy the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, or any other Police officer in the River State Police Command”.

Channels Television’s Rivers State correspondent reported that while the lawmakers insisted on entering their official place of work, the Police claimed that it had not been served with any authorising letter to permit them to enter into the premises.

The lawmakers resumed plenary on the road, but were chased out of the place by the police with tear gas.

Some persons suspected to be hoodlums resisted the Police’s action, as tear gas and gun shots rented the air.

Court Voids NASS Resolution To Take Over Rivers’ Legislation

A Federal High Court in Abuja has voided the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court faulted the decision on the ground that ‘the National Assembly cannot assume the law making functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly when there were no facts that the assembly was unable to carry out its functions’.

In nullifying the resolution, Justice Abubakar Mohammed restrained the Senate, the Senate President, the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives from assuming the law making functions of the Rivers State house of assembly.

The court also ruled that “the National Assembly does not have the powers to direct the Inspector General of Police to re-deploy the rivers state commissioner of police or any other police officer in the river state police command.

It also nullified the resolution passed by the Senate directing its Committee on States and Local Governments to investigate the rift between the rivers state governor and the state commissioner of police and the crisis rocking the rivers state house of assembly.

Lawyer to the plaintiffs, Ade Okeaya-Inneh, applauded the verdict of the court but the defendant’s lawyer declined comment and left the court briskly.

The political crisis in Rivers State degenerated on July 9 as an attempt to impeach the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Otelemaba Amachree, sparked a fierce fight that left some lawmakers injured.

Five members of the house allegedly opposed to governor Rotimi Amaechi had engaged about 13 of their colleagues in a fight shortly after the pro-governor lawmakers resisted the move to remove Amachree.