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Protests Hit Port Harcourt Over ‘Embarrassing’ Wike-Fubara Peace Deal

Groups embarked on solidarity walks in support of the governor and threatened to shut down major roads, offices and oil companies.

In what appeared to be a backlash from the rapprochement between former governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike and his godson and Governor of Rivers State, Siminalaye Fubara, by President Bola Tinubu, the people of the state have threatened to shut down all business activities in the state if the terms were not reversed.

The crowd which on Friday commenced a protest that threatened to ground the State, premised their action on alleged imposition of the terms of agreement on Fubara over the political crisis in the state.

On the same day, six elders from Rivers State dragged Tinubu to the Federal High Court in Abuja, for allegedly compelling Fubara to enter into what they termed an unconstitutional agreement.

Apparently making good their threats, the protesters in their thousands yesterday, occupied the major streets of Port Harcourt, on a solidarity walk in support of Fubara.

Prominent among groups in the joint protest included the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN); Rivers State Chapter, Greater Wakirike Movement; National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), Worldwide, National Association of Nigeria Students (NAN), ljaw Youth Council (IYC), Rivers Youth Federation (RYC), Ijaw Young Professionals Association and the Andoni Youth Federation.

Others were Ogoni Youth Federation, Niger Delta Activist Forum, United Community Development Committee (UDCD), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rivers State Chapter, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rivers State Chapter, and Muslim Community in Rivers State, Concerned Lawyers, Concerned Doctors and others

Speaking during the peaceful walk which terminated at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the IYC Chairman in the State, Tamunotonye Kpokpo, condemned the purported agreement initiated by Tinubu. He said the Ijaws would resist any plan to undermine Fubara

The President General of Ogoni Youth Federation, Legborsi Yamabana said the agreement was not acceptable. He also said any attempt to return any of the outgone Commissioners would be resisted.

In their position signed during a joint press conference ahead of the solidarity walk yesterday, the coalition insisted that the eight-point resolution by the President was a sham and embarrassment to Nigeria, arguing that it poses fundamental threats to the nation’s democracy, if it’s allowed.

The group said the purported terms clearly revealed an alleged perfected plan to enslave Rivers people and bring the state under tyrannical control of one man

They maintained that the Rivers State cannot become the estate of any individual and therefore, urged all indigenes and residents to be ready for long drawn, non-violent protest rallies in the state.

“Siminalayi Fubara that Rivers State people massively voted him into office and therefore cannot allow him to bring the people into disrepute by signing such agreement that is akin to selling our collective hegemony to one individual, Nyesom Wike, who enjoys the support of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila and the President himself, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“We herein inform the Governor not to attempt under any guise of persuasive truce, imagine adherence to any part of that unconstitutional agreement as that is tantamount to compromising the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“To think that the meeting was convened at the instance of Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but do not have the signature of Mr. President, throws questions as to the authenticity of the said resolutions.

“It is worthy of mention that the following persons did not also append their signatures; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Chief Justice of the Federation.

“Rivers State people are aware that the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike and the Chief of Staff to President Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila, are working hand in hand to undermine the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, just to suit their inordinate and selfish political ambitions for 2027,” they alleged.

According to the group, “a critical analysis of the purported resolutions reveal a barrage of illegalities and more so, at no point was the interest of the good people of Rivers State mentioned or even accommodated. Rather, the ill- fated resolutions depict the abusive show of power for obvious political gains of Mr. President and his FCT Minister.

“Indeed, by this purported resolutions, it is evidently clear that Mr. President hates and abhors the Niger Delta people and has aligned with his FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, to undermine the entire Niger- Delta region.

“The mischievous essence of these resolutions can also be seen in the last point in the document, where the issue of Local Government Care-taker Committee was mentioned.

“It is amazing how Mr. President has allowed and supported a Caretaker Committee of his own party, the APC in Rivers State but directing the Executive Governor of Rivers State not to consider the use of Caretaker Committee at the Local Government Councils of the same State.

“Arising from this unbelievable truth that Mr. President, His Excellency, Bola Tinubu could have proclaimed such unjust, inhuman resolutions against a State, just to satisfy the ego of his FCT Minister, beats every strap of logical reasoning.

“Indeed, one wonders why President Bola Ahmed could accept the defection of 27 House of Assembly Members from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to his own party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), but cannot bring himself to accept the declaration.”

The group further wondered why the President could not accept the constitutional presentation of the 2024 budget by Fubara.

“For the records, we hereby emphasise that with the misguided defection of the 25 lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly and subsequent declaration of their seats, vacant, by the Speaker of the House, in accordance with section 109 (1)(B) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, the House in line with the provisions of section 102 of the Constitution, proceeded  to deliberate and pass the 2024 Appropriation Bill, which has since been assented to by the Governor of the State, Siminalayi Fubara.

“Mr. President Sir, if that bit of the resolution sounds fair to you, wouldn’t it also be fair enough to direct that the 27 Rivers State House of Assembly Members, who defected to your party (APC) be forced to return to their party of original victory (PDP). This is clearly injustice from all views and Rivers people will vehemently oppose it”, they fumed.

Threatening to shutdown businesses in the state, the group stated, “The absolute resolve of the people of Rivers State and indeed the entire Niger- Delta to resort to self- help by any non-violent mechanism possible to ensure our dignity as a people is not trampled upon.

“We therefore call on all Rivers State people (indigenes & residents) and the entire Niger Delta people across Lagos, Ondo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Akwa lbom, Delta, and Edo states to get prepared and ready to occupy Rivers State.

“We shall occupy the following places: Omagwa International Airport, Port Harcourt, Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, NLNG Bonny & Port Harcourt complex and facilities, SPDC LA complex and facilities, NOAC complex and facilities, TOTAL E&P complex and facilities.

“Other places to be affected include, Aba/ Port- Harcourt Expressway, East – West Road, Federal Secretariat, State Secretariat and all Markets”, they threatened.

They threatened that the action would take effect from January 1 till 30, 2024 at the first instance.

Warning that, “Rivers people will be ready to occupy the Rivers State House of Assembly Residential Quarters, if there be any attempt for the defected and sacked Assembly Members to have any legislative sitting anywhere, as we know such to be unconstitutional and undemocratic.

“Yet another pointer to a greedy display of attempt to usurp the peoples mandate freely given to Gov Sim Fubara, is the mention of the dissolution of Local Government Council Chairmen from office

“Rivers State will stay occupied until Mr. President sees reasons with Nigerians and Rivers people, and sack the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike. Rivers State is not and cannot be Nyesome Wike’s estate.”

Earlier, the organised Labour in Rivers State staged a solidarity walk to Government House to appreciate the Governor for the Christmas package he gave to civil servants in the state.

Rivers Elders Drag Tinubu, Fubara, INEC to Court

Six elders from Rivers State have dragged Tinubu to the Federal High Court in Abuja, for allegedly compelling Fubara to enter into what they termed an unconstitutional agreement.

They argued that the peace pact brokered by Tinubu, went contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

The plaintiffs led by a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly representing Bonny State Constituency, Victor Jumbo, were Senator Bennett Birabi, Senator Andrew Uchendu, Rear Admiral O. P. Fingesi, Ann Kio Briggs, and Emmanuel Deinma.

They are praying the court to determine whether Tinubu, Fubara, and the Rivers State Assembly have the rights, and were entitled to enter into any agreement that has the effect of nullifying or undermining the constitution and provisions of Section 109(I)(g) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

They argued that neither Tinubu nor Fubara have statutory powers to stop INEC from conducting fresh polls to replace the embattled 27 Rivers State lawmakers.

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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