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Rivers crisis deepens as Fubara directs Administrative Heads to take charge of LGAs

Written by silvernewsng

By Onyeche Igwe

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has directed heads of administration in the 23 local government areas to take over from the elected council chairmen whose three-year tenure elapsed on Monday.

Governor Fubara gave the directive in a state broadcast on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

“As we move forward in making sure that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is upheld, and that law and order is maintained as we continue to strive to provide leadership and direction for our people, I hereby direct Heads of Local Government Administration to continue to provide leadership in their respective local government areas,” the governor said.

“Heads of Local Government Administration (HLGAs) are hereby directed to immediately take charge of the councils with renewed vigour and readiness to serve and await further directives as we navigate towards even greater accomplishments together.”

He said the decision ties with the Constitution’s provision and the need to ensure peace and order in the state. Fubara appreciated the efforts and dedication of the council chairmen to public service.

“I wish to acknowledge and commend the dedicated services of the outgoing elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen, and councillors who were elected and sworn in three years ago, and whose tenure expired yesterday the 17th of June, 2024, as provided for by the law,” Fubara said.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Rivers State, I thank you all for your sacrifices and commend your commitment to public service and our dear Rivers State. I congratulate you all for the successful completion of your tenure and wish you well in your future endeavours.”

Meanwhile, two LGA chairmen announced their willingness to leave office per the state’s Local Government Law of 2018.

The chairmen are the first female council chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, Dame Anengi Barasua Claude-Wilcox, and the Enyiada Cookeygam of Opobo/Nkoro, from Fubara’s LGA.

Both Claude-Wilcox and the Enyiada Cookeygam of Opobo/Nkoro had challenged the extension of the tenure of local government chairmen by the Martin Amaewhule-led led-assembly in court.

Speaking to Channels Television after a function at the Government House on Monday, the now-former council chairmen urged their colleagues in other LGAs to respect the position of the law and exit office peacefully.

The development comes as the chairmen of Akuku-Toru and Asari-Toru local government councils, Rowland Sekibo and Onengiyeofori George respectively, on Monday, appealed for a calm and peaceful resolution over the tenure elongation of the chairmen.

The dispute over the end of the LGA tenure took a new turn on Monday in Akuku-Toru and Asari-Toru local government councils as protesters barricaded the council premises, demanding a handover by the chairmen whose three-year term would have expired on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024.

But the two LG bosses said their tenure extension was duly approved by the Amaewhule-led state assembly, and urged supporters to exercise restraint and avoid violence.

Sekibo, who spoke on their behalf, whilst calling for calm, emphasised that the matter was before the court.

“Everyone should exercise restraint, no matter the provocation. The matter is already in court.

“Those who want to be caretaker chairmen, just endure; those who want to be council chairmen, just endure. We are already at the Court of Appeal. It won’t take long again for judgment. Whichever way the case goes, it will go to the Supreme Court,” Sekibo appealed.

They urged law enforcement agents to ensure no breakdown of law and order, stating that no one has a monopoly on violence.

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