by Stanley Azuakola
Following yesterday’s show of shame at the Rivers state House of Assembly in which legislators from the two opposing camps fought each other inside the chambers while their thugs did battle outside, Rivers state woke up to a very tensed new day. And it did not take long before things began to unravel.
The state house of assembly which had adjourned indefinitely on Tuesday after considering the budget amendment proposal submitted by the deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, suddenly fixed a sitting for Wednesday. In an interview on Tuesday evening, the House speaker, Otelemaba Amachree said that there are no factions in the assembly and told anyone doubting to come to the assembly today when the House was expected to sit, with him presiding.
However, as early as 7.30am this morning, thugs loyal to the Hon. Evans Bipi group mobilised and assembled in front of the assembly complex, threatening to disrupt the day’s proceedings. Shortly afterwards, thugs loyal to the Hon. Amachree side also showed up, and as the mood around the assembly became combustible, police officers from the state headquarters mobilised to the scene, with armoured carriers and trucks.
Around 8.30am, all the House members present in the complex were allegedly asked to vacate the assembly premises, while the police and other security personnel shut down the assembly complex.
Then they immediately began to disperse the two protesting camp, firing tear gas cannisters. As they successfully secured the assembly environment, the thugs from both sides mobilised and moved to the Government House area, which is not a far distance from the assembly complex. Again, the police moved in, and this time, in addition to tear gas, gunshots were fired, according to eyewitnesses. The crowd was dispelled.
The police mounted barricades all around the area comprising the state assembly, the state secretariat, the High Court and the Government House. Business activities around those areas were paralysed for the day as workers were not permitted to pass through the barricades. Some workers were seen by The Scoop pleading with the officers or arguing to no avail, as the officers said they had strict instructions not to give entrance to anyone.
Meanwhile, the family of Hon. Michael Okechukwu Chinda, the house member who was viciously bludgeoned with the mace by the House leader, Chidi Lloyd and a police officer, said that they are considering flying him abroad for treatment due to the severity of the injuries he sustained. The Scoop currently has no new information on the whereabout or condition of Hon. Chidi Lloyd. It would be recalled that Lloyd who was first attacked earlier in the day by the Bipi-led legislators, later returned where he mercilessly attacked the anti-Amaechi lawmakers who were at that time still meeting in the chambers.
More details to follow…