The Prohgressive Governors’ Forum,PGF , has condemned the of the blockade mounted in front of Rivers Government House by the Nigeria Police Force on Thursday, September 12, 2013. A statement by the forum expressed “ shock and disbelief” at the development.
“Rivers State Governor, H.E. Rotimi Amaechi was as a result refused access to his own office in a manner that only translates to illegal takeover of Rivers State Government by the Police Authorities and suspension of all relevant powers of the Governor as the Chief Security Officer of the State as provided by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. This action of the Rivers Police Command is an assault on constitutional rule and portends a descent to anarchy.
The statement noted that “Since July 2013, the situation in Rivers continues to constitute a major threat to our democracy. The inability of Federal Authorities to exercise all the necessary constitutional and moral authority to ensure speedy resolution of the crisis has remained a source of danger for our democracy and the life of Governor Amaechi and those of other public officers serving in the state. This is a bad precedent and we wonder if this is not a signal for a similar bloackade to be mounted against the President at the Presidential Villa.
According to the forum “This is unfortunate and all Nigerians must rise to this challenge by calling on the Federal Government and all its agencies, including all arms of the security services to respect the letter and spirit of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. In the specific case of Rivers State, provisions of Section 215(4) of the 1999 Constitution must be fully respected. This section provides that the Governor “may give to the Commissioner of Police of that state such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and security of public safety and public order within the state as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with”.
“A situation whereby the Federal Government will use powers vested in it under the constitution to bully and intimidate state governments is unacceptable and should be resisted by every democratic government. As Governors, we view events of September 12 in Rivers as a direct affront on constitutional order in the country. We wish to unequivocally state our resolve to work with all democrats in the country to ensure adequate protection of democratic governance.
But the Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party has faulted the claims by Governor Rotimi Amaechi who alleged that he was stopped on Thursday, September 12, 2013 by the police from entering Government House Port Harcourt.
The party said “Amaechi’s allegation which he supported by a concocted video footage on the net is a calculated ploy to further smear the name of the Police Commissioner, Mbu Joseph Mbu whom he (Amaechi) has continued to demand his removal from the State.”
The PDP statement issued by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on media to the State Chairman Felix Obuah explained that “Governor Amaechi in his usual characteristic only intended to win public sympathy as there was no reason for his choice of that route at the period when there are several access roads, some of which are direct and smoother leading to the Government House.”
The party said there were strong indications that the Governor wanted to personally go and open the rebel group party secretariat on receiving the information that his allies were earlier prevented by the police from hoisting the flag while trying to commission the office.
“It is disheartening to observe that the Governor, who few minutes earlier, was at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive Mr. President will suddenly accuse same President of ordering the police to deny him access to the Government House by blocking the entrance to the place.
The PDP in Rivers State unequivocally condemns in absolute terms this unwarranted and demeaning contempt on the person and office of Mr. President by Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
“This incident also reminds us of the Governor’s role in the June 9, 2013 drama at the Rivers State House of Assembly during which he personally went to supervise the brutalization of some law makers by a colleague loyal to the Governor himself. So, he is known to be a showman who plays to the gallery only to achieve a cheap point and distort the fact”.