by Dare Lawal
With every passing day, the politics of Rivers state gets messier. Following yesterday’s bombing at a High Court in Ahoada, the state government has accused members of the Grassroot Development Initiative (GDI), founded by Minister of Education Nyesom Wike of being the masterminds. They fingered them as the brains behind the series of bomb threats and attacks in some parts of the state since last December.
The position of the government was made known by the Commissioner for Information and Technology Mrs. Ibim Seminitari who addressed reporters in Port Harcourt on the explosion which rocked part of the premises of Ahoada High court, in Ahoada East Local Government Area (LGA), destroying the building housing the secretariat of the state branch of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), as well as the incident at the State High Court in Etche Local Government Area, in which files were burnt in an alleged case of arson.
She was accompanied during the press conference by the Rivers state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Worgu Boms.
Seminitari said the bombing of the Ahoada court premises and destruction of case files at Okehi were carried out by GDI members to destroy records of the matters involving Bipi, to stall proceedings of the matters before the courts.
She said of the three bombs planted at the court, only the one at the NBA secretariat went off, while the other two did not before they were removed by the Anti-terror Squad.
She was very critical of the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force in Rivers state. According to her, even though the state government has confidence in the Nigerian Police, it does not have confidence “in the Police in Rivers State as headed by Mbu. We have undoubted confidence that the police are professionals, but Mbu is an unprofessional politician and is not protecting the people.”
Narrating what the state government believes to be the reality of the events, she said, “There was supposed to have been a court case involving Hon. Evans this (yesterday) morning, and when the lawyers got to court this (yesterday) morning, they found that the premises where the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), office is located had been burnt. Where they were there, they discovered that there were still unexploded devices that were there. The Police Anti-Bomb squad arrived at the place (scene) and confirmed that the explosives were bomb.
“The lawyers were still around when these things were happening, between 10 and 11 am, the Police Anti-Bomb squad were still around taking stock of what has happened.
“At Okehi, it wasn’t an explosion. The Registrar of the court at Okehi confirmed that files were gathered together and set ablaze.
“We are unable to establish by who, but we can establish that they were arson. We cannot say what their intention was at this point because we do not have that as at now, but it could be possible that there was an attempt at governance.
“Knowing things that have happened at Okehi in respect of the political cases going on, as a government we are mindful that this may not be totally unrelated to matters affecting the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA).
The state government’s image maker explained why the government thinks it was Bipi and Wike’s GDI members/supporters that carried out the acts.
“The reasons we say that is because again of the things that have happened in both Etche and Omuma, when GDI attempted to do their launching they broke into the secretariat and there was violence, and because we have seen these spate of violence by GDI member we are certain that this violence that are occurring have the signature of members of the GDI and the PDPas currently known.
“We will like the security agencies to take these matters seriously because it concerns the lives of Rivers people.
“This is not the first explosion as you (the media) are aware of in the recent time. You are aware that there was a mild one at the office of the Deputy Governor. We are still awaiting the security agencies’ report on that matter
“Your also aware of series of explosion going on around the Abonnema Wharf area of Mile One last December. We are also waiting for the reports from the security agencies.
“Since these occurred, we have been silent as a government to let the security agencies take the lead. They have failed to take the lead and also failed to tell Rivers people what all of these are about.
“As people who have the responsibility of protecting lives and property, Rivers State government frowns at this, and we are calling on the security agency(Police), to please keep politics out of the way , protect the lives and property of the people.”