by Stanley Azuakola
Rivers state is now a certifiable flashpoint – ready to burst into violence at the slightest of triggers.
Just 48 hours after the supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and those of the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, clashed in Buguma, the headquarters of Asari Toru local government area of the state, the two groups clashed again on Tuesday at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
They hurled missiles at one another, and the clash would have escalated but for the intervention of the police.
The issue this time concerned the visit of 4 Northern governors who flew into Rivers state in solidarity with the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. The visiting governors were those of Kano, Alhaji Rabiu Kwakwanso; Niger, Alhaji Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu; Jigawa, Sule Lamido; and Adamawa, Murtala Nyako.
But as early as 7am, over 5,000 supporters of Wike, under the aegis of his political action group, Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), moved to the airport and began chanting protest songs and expressing displeasure over the visit by the northern governors. Supporters of the governor soon joined and confronted them at the airport’s parking lot and the two groups began throwing objects at each other while other airport users scampered for safety.
Policemen from the Rivers State Police Command as well as operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) intervened and prevented the clash from deteriorating into complete chaos.
The Secretary-General of the Nyesom Wike group, GDI, Samuel Nwanosike, who doubles as the Rivers Publicity Secretary of the PDP, said that his group had only embarked on a “peaceful” protest, to sing and dance and express their displeasure over the visit.
Details of the meeting between Amaechi and his counterparts are still unknown as the governors were still meeting as at press time.