Confusion In Port Harcourt As Protesting Youths Chase Out Local Council Chairmen, Occupy Secretariats

There is currently tension in Port-Harcourt, the River State capital as youths allegedly loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara took over all the Council Secretariats in the state and prevented Council Chairmen whose tenures in office had elapsed on June 17, 2024, from gaining entrance.

In several videos shared on X (formerly Twitter), residents and political supporters of the governor were seen taking over the Port-Harcourt City Council and Omuma Council areas.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara¬† had issued a directive for heads of local government administration to assume control of the state’s 23 council areas.

The governor’s move comes in response to the expiration of the statutory three-year tenure of elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen, and councillors.

In a broadcast on Tuesday, Governor Fubara instructed Heads of Local Government Administration (HLGAs) to take charge of the councils promptly and with renewed commitment.

He emphasised the importance of upholding the constitution and maintaining law and order, urging HLGAs to provide continued leadership in their respective areas.

On Monday, anxiety gripped Degema and Asari-Toru councils as youths seized control of their secretariats following the end of the tenure of chairmen, councillors, and other officials.

Amidst the crisis, tensions increased following reports of armed youths in riverine areas and rumours that the governor had submitted names for seven-man caretaker committees to lawmakers for screening.

In a viral video, an unidentified leader of a joint task force on anti-bunkering threatened action, announcing preparations to escort caretaker committees to councils, including a confrontation with the outgoing chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike.

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However, shortly after Governor Fubara’s statewide broadcast, some residents trooped to the Council Secretariats to ensure that the former council Chairmen does not access to loot and destroy the council headquarters before eventually vacating their seats.

In one of the videos, the former Mayor of Port-Harcourt City, Allwell Ihunda, and his security details were chased out when he tried to gain illegal entrance to the council.

Emma ik Umeh with X handle @emmaikumeh, who shared one of the videos wrote: “Rivers state Omuma Council has been taken over by the Rivers people. Rivers state is fully for Gov Sim. No put body of e no sure for you.”

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“Former Mayor of Port-Harcourt City Allwell Ihunda and his security took to their heels after trying to make his way illegally into the council as he was been chased away by well meaning indigenes of the Local Government.

“Rivers state is fully for Sim.”

One of the leaders of the youths was overheard saying in one of the videos while they occupied the Port-Harcourt City Secretariat.

He said: “For taking the laws into his hands and he will pay dearly for shading the blood of our citizen because we took it upon us to protect the Port-Harcourt City Council Secretariat and Mayor’s Lodge that Allwell Ihunda as at today is a former chairman.

“He has no business here, they can come with their serenes, they can come with their guns we cannot be intimidated. We will stay here to protect the properties of Port-Harcourt City Secretariat built and bought with our money and our sweat.

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“The police officers shot directly at us” showing shells of the expended bullets. “But what they failed to understand is that Port-Harcourt City youths are undeterred.”

Another youth was overheard saying “We want the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to help Rivers State people because the tenure of former council Chairmen in the state has ended and we have taken over our local government areas. We want them to come and look it.”

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