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New Rivers CTC Chairmen Will Operate From Pallarel Secretariats As Police Bar Both Pro-Fubara/Wike Group

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said 23 local government councils in the state will operate from alternative secretariats following Tuesday’s sealing of the councils by the police.

This is in response to the recent sealing of the 23 local government councils by the police, Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has directed the councils to operate from alternative secretariats

The governor, who said this after swearing in the 23 local government caretaker committee chairmen on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, said they could operate from anywhere.

Fubara stated this as the police barred the newly inaugurated caretaker chairmen from accessing their offices in all the 23 LG headquarters. The secretariats were barricaded with police patrol vans manned by armed policemen.

The state police command had on Tuesday announced that it had taken over all the LG council headquarters to forestall further bloodshed and to prevent a breakdown of law and order.”

The tensions in Rivers State escalated following a clash on Tuesday between supporters of Governor Fubara and those of his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who is currently the Federal Capital Territory Minister.

The conflict, which resulted in the deaths of a police officer and a member of a local security outfit in Omuma Local Government Area, is the latest development in an ongoing dispute between the two political figures.

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The crisis dates back to late last year and has included incidents such as the bombing of the state House of Assembly and an attempted impeachment of Governor Fubara by lawmakers loyal to Wike.

The immediate cause of the current conflict was the expiration of the three-year tenure of the 23 local government chairmen on Monday.

The outgoing chairmen, backed by a local government amendment law passed by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly, sought to extend their terms by six months due to the governor’s failure to conduct local government elections.

In response, Governor Fubara appointed caretaker chairmen, who were sworn in on Wednesday.

Governor Fubara, addressing the newly appointed caretaker committee chairmen, directed them to operate from any location while the council secretariats remained inaccessible due to the police barricade.

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Fubara defended his appointment of the caretaker chairmen as a defence of democracy, stating that the attempt to extend the tenure of elected officials was against the Nigerian Constitution.

He also ordered an immediate audit of the accounts of the 23 councils to ensure financial transparency and accountability.

The state police command, under Commissioner Olatunji Disu, had taken control of the local government secretariats to prevent further violence.

Disu explained that the measure was necessary to prevent clashes between the rival factions.

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