Organisers Don’t Need Police Permit To Hold Save Rivers Rally – Suraj

Anti-corruption activist and public affairs analyst, Olanrewaju Suraj on Monday described the disruption of the Save Rivers Movement Rally in Rivers State, as an ‘unconstitutional act’ encouraged by the Goodluck Jonathan led administration, adding that organisers did not need the permission of the police to hold a peaceful rally.

“There’s nowhere in Nigeria where you need to obtain a permit to hold a rally” as “it was the decision of a competent Court of Appeal in Nigeria that the demand for police permit to hold a rally is illegal and a violation of the Constitution,” Suraj said, adding that the issue of a permit was a ploy by the Police to hoodwink Nigerians.

Speaking on Channels Television’s flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Suraj stressed that the disruption of the event, ordered by the State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, was against the law as organisers had the right to associate as stated in the Nigerian Constitution.

He also said that the organisers did not need to obtain a permit from the Police before staging the rally as stated by Mr Mbu who claimed that the rally was political in nature.

“It tells us how much the law enforcement agents are either ignorant of the law or consciously violating the laws of the lands in a bid to protect and promote a certain interest within the system at the expense of the country,” Mr Suraj said.

A fresh spate of crisis drew nationwide attention on Sunday when men of the Rivers State Police Command at about 5.30am on Sunday, stormed the Rivers State College of Arts and Science in Rumuola, venue of the proposed Save Rivers Movement (Rally) scheduled to hold at 1 PM.

The Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, had also been labelled partisan by critics who claimed he was working against the Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration, as a result of his allegiance to the President and First Lady of the country.

Several citizens including Senator Magnus Abe sustained different degrees of injuries during the raid.

In reaction to this, Mr Suraj warned that the “disintegration of this country is likely to start from Rivers State and not the Boko Haram.”

Rivers Lawmaker Narrates What Led To Assembly’s Mayhem

A member of Rivers State House of Assembly, Victoria Nyeche has narrated the events which led to violence amongst the lawmakers in the hallowed chambers on Tuesday.

During an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, she disclosed that the crisis bedevilling the Assembly started on the 6th of May when armed touts disrupted the Assembly’s procession.

Accordiong to her, the initial chaos was what led to the request for more security operatives at Tuesday’s sitting. “Because of this security situation we felt that for us to reconvene; we needed to be assured of our security. So we agreed and the Clerk wrote a letter to the state command that we needed additional policemen” she said.

Mrs Nyeche, who claimed she watched the proceedings from her office via a Close Circuit Television (CCTV), said that the problem started when about seven members were exchanging pleasantries on the floor of the house and suddenly, she saw Mr Evans Bipi raining blows on Mr Chidi Llyod.

The lawmaker stated that Mr Evans Bipi also hit the Speaker, Amachree Otelemaba, who was trying to intervene in the situation.

“Evans grabbed the tripod and started hitting Lloyd with it,” she added.

She said it was when most of the lawmakers ran away, that a faction stayed behind to have a ‘sitting’ that led to the impeachment of the Speaker.

She denounced the authenticity of the impeachment and supported her claim with the law which she quotes that “for the House to sit, you must have 11 members” and to “discuss the impeachment of the Speaker, you must have 22 members”

“So even if 10 members sit down in the chambers, at best they can be said to be having a talk show.”

CCTV Video

Meanwhile the Assistant Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, Rivers state, Sam Nwanosike, has demanded the release of the video recorded by the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) operational in the Assembly.

During a telephone conversation, Mr Sam Nwanosike accused the Mrs Nyeche of being ‘unsure of what she’s saying’.

He alleged that a proper sitting had held and the pro-Amaechi camp only rushed out to call in Governor Amaechi after the Mr Otelemaba, had been impeached.

Mr Nyeche responded stating that the CCTV video has not been made available to be public because the office has been shut off and is being guarded by police men.

She indicated her support for the Senate to take over the duties of the Rivers Assembly.

“Considering what is at stake, I think it is in the best interest of Democracy” for the Senate to take over the duties of the Rivers Assembly.

OPINION: Governor Amaechi and Politicians’ Desperation

Politicians live a life of noisy desperation. It is all about how to outsmart, outwit and oust any contrary opposition. Sometimes, what they term as opposition is not opposition in the real sense of the word. They mistake critics or divergent opinions for opposition. This is glaringly what the presidency has taken Governor Chibuiku Amaechi for, because of his unequivocal and unrelenting approach in the business of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), which he heads in the capacity of Chairman.

Down home, because President Goodluck Jonathan is Ijaw, and Amaechi is Ikwerre, many uninformed opinions and politicians from the Ijaw extraction have taken Amaechi to be in a war of slow-destruction against the Ijaws, because he addresses the views of the NGF, many times, challenging the stance of the Federal Government on any national issues.

Some have likened Amaechi as a University Union President who is always challenging the authority. And you wonder if Amaechi is challenging the NGF that made him its chairman or what. To this set of people, they have ignorantly mistaken the presidency as the authority that Amaechi has been challenging, but this is a biased viewpoint. It could have been said to be a challenge if Amaechi had challenged the NGF, which he has not done, and might not do. So, for now, it should be taken that Amaechi has not challenged and is not challenging any authority no matter the quarter that has been hatching this propaganda war against Amaechi.

It was Amaechi that made the NGF a formidable force it has become today, not to scuttle the presidency, but for the aspirations and objectives of the NGF. Happily, Amaechi and majority of the governors that consist the NGF are members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If Amaechi were in the opposition it can be brought home the speculation making the rounds that he is against Jonathan. How can he be against Jonathan when virtually 85% of the NGF’s members are PDP? It will not be out of contest to say that it is not Amaechi or the NGF that is desperate in the on-going politics, but the presidency. The unfolding reports between Amaechi and the risky-in-nature plot by the presidency to oust him as the chairman of NGF are clear indications that the presidency does not want any challenge from any quarters, but loyalists. Juxtaposing to this, one may say that such calculation is despotic, which is not what democracy represents.

It cannot be said that this is democracy, if Amaechi’s opinions representing that of the NGF are termed the enemy’s, because of certain interest group for the 2015 elections. Does anybody think that Amaechi has anything to lose if his purported quest to be re-elected as the NGF’s chair fails? No. He has nothing to lose, but the NGF that will be manipulated to have a stooge of the presidency as chairman.

Considerably, the fight against Amaechi started when the news from the rumour mills started to circulate that he was nursing the ambition for the presidency in 2015, as a possible running-mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, which he has rebuffed several times. Somebody might say that before the news started circulating it had been mirrored through the presidency’s intelligence mirror, but why still tag that on his neck when he has declared  publicly that there was nothing of that kind in his political career, at least, for now.

What Nigerians expect from Jonathan is to meet the yearnings of the populace, and not the meetings with the PDP on how to oust Amaechi; hence a splinter group named PDP Governors Forum emerged. Would they also throw Amaechi out of this splinter group since he is a member of the PDP? If the presidency is blunt to Amaechi, it should know that it is also blunt to the people of Rivers State that Amaechi governs; no strategy that was meant to dampen any opinion that is not tyrannical!

As far as the NGF is concerned, any of its members that is seeking loyalty to the presidency can be regarded as a traitor. The loyalty of any member of any group should be for the group and not the other. In this case, there is no gainsaying the fact that the presidency is also a strong opposition to the NGF, without the later knowing it. What was expected of the NGF’s members to do was to question the right the presidency had in interfering in its matter. If Amaechi will go, it has to be done by the members of the NGF, and not by any wandering aggressors.

Anybody viewing the NGF as an arm of the ruling PDP, therefore, the presidency has the right to interfere, is not just being truthful. If this is not true, why have there been speculations that the Czar of the NGF might come from an opposition party if by tomorrow Amaechi did not emerge chairman the second time. Though, as it stands, Amaechi has proved that he also knows how to fight, and not only how to talk. Since Thursday 21 February, when the first ‘political coup’ was staged against Amaechi, he and his men have succeeded in fighting to retain the image of the NGF.

Written by Odimegwu Onwumere

Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV).
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Governors’ Forum Postpones Election Till May

Following reports that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) was poised to change its leadership, the Forum on Monday said it had put off the elections until May when the current Chairman, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi’s tenure will expire.

This was a key part of the resolutions reached by the Forum after an emergency meeting in Abuja which lasted over three hours.

The governors said they were united and would not take any action against anybody.

It was a moment of relief for Governor Amaechi as some of his colleagues, especially those from the North, were said to be backing Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State as his successor.

The decision to nominate Governor Shema as Mr. Amaechi’s successor was a fallout of the series of meetings by the northern governors at the Sokoto State governor’s lodge.