Tension In Rivers State As Militants, Youths Vow To Take Over Council

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Some youths, who claimed to be members of the anti-bunkering task force in South South, have vowed to take over all the 23 local government councils in Rivers State, following the expiration of the tenure of the LG chairmen in Rivers State.

This came as the tenure of the current 23 LG chairmen in the state expires on Monday, June 17, 2024. The 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, had also vowed to resist any attempt by Governor Siminalayi Fubara to install caretaker members in the 23 local government areas of the state.

Some youths in the Degema Local Government Area of the state on Monday occupied the council secretariat in the early hours and locked the entrances.

The youths who were seen chanting war songs appeared battle-ready as they insisted that they would not allow the LG chairmen to remain in office after serving out their tenure, saying they would remain there to ensure the outgoing LG chairman did not return to the council.

The same scenario is playing out in the Asari-Toru Local Government Area, where youths stormed the council headquarters in Degema and occupied the facility. Many of the youths were seen in different groups in front of the secretariat and the entire stretch of the road leading to the entrance, even as some could be heard saying, “Asawana” a popular slang among the Ijaws which signifies solidarity, even as others arrived the scene in droves.

The youths said they would remain until Wednesday when work resumed and dared the council chairmen to come to the secretariat.

However, a man who claimed to be a member of Joint Task Force, and in charge of anti-bunkering activities in South South, vowed to storm all the Councils on Wednesday and force them out. The man, in a video which shows some youths dressed in uniform and coming out from the creeks and obtained by SaharaReporters on Monday, challenged the caretakers to wait for them.

“Today is Friday, we are back from the creeks, preparing to take over all the twenty three Local Government Councils in Rivers State, on Wednesday. They should wait for us, we are coming. “We are to escort every Local Government Caretakers out. It’s my hobby and business to work with government in reducing crime in the state, to relate with the government and fight the people who are against the government. “I am working with the Joint Task Force, I am in charge of anti-bunkerin activities in South South. Half of my men are back, we are taking over all the Local Government Councils.

“The caretakers should be ready to host boys on Wednesday, Nwanosike wait for us. I have volunteered to come to the Ikwerre Local Government Council on Wednesday. You will learn how to respect elders, authority and number one citizen,” the statement added.

The Chairperson of the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Samuel Nwanosike, had said Governor Siminalayi Fubara lacked the power to constitute caretaker committees for local government councils in the state as a consequence of the Court of Appeal ruling in Port Harcourt, Friday.

Mr Nwanosike, an ally of former Governor Wike (now FCT minister), on Saturday, said Governor Fubara could not replace him and his colleagues at the councils with a caretaker committee. He predicated his argument on the ruling of the Court of Appeal.




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