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Rivers Police Takes Control of Local Government Secretariats Amidst Chaos

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PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria – The Rivers State Police Command has assumed control of all 23 Local Government Area (LGA) secretariats following a breakdown of law and order across the state.

Police Public Relations Officer, SP Grace Iringe Koko, confirmed the takeover in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, evening.

The intervention comes in response to violent clashes triggered by the expiration of the tenures of LGA chairmen, who refused to vacate their positions despite directives from Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The pro-Wike faction of the Rivers State House of Assembly had extended the chairmen’s tenures by six months, sparking protests.

Governor Fubara had directed all LGA chairmen to hand over to the Heads of Administration in their respective areas.

This directive led to confrontations between supporters of the two political camps, resulting in violence in several locations.

Reports indicate that at least two people were killed in Eberi-Omuma, Omuma LGA, including a police officer and a vigilante.

The unrest prompted the police to take preemptive measures to prevent further bloodshed and restore order.

“To forestall more bloodshed and prevent a further breakdown of law and order, the Police took over all the 23 Council Secretariat and some critical government infrastructure in the state,” SP Koko stated.

She added that both conventional police officers and anti-riot units have been deployed to these facilities and emphasized that the police would enforce the law against anyone attempting to incite violence.

“We also wish to ask the law-abiding residents and visitors in the state to go about their lawful businesses without fear. We are resolved to carry out our constitutional duty of protecting lives and property,” Koko reassured the public.

Earlier, Governor Fubara convened a meeting with heads of security agencies at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

Post-meeting, the governor raised concerns about alleged plots to target his supporters and vowed to resist any such actions.

The situation remains tense as authorities work to stabilise the affected areas and ensure the safety of residents amidst the ongoing political turmoil.

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