Don't demolish any structures in Rivers assembly quarters – Pro-Wike elders, leaders warn Fubara - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Don't demolish any structures in Rivers assembly quarters – Pro-Wike elders, leaders warn Fubara

Rivers State elders and leaders in People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) and All Progressives Congress, APC, have warned the State Governor, Sir. Siminalayi Fubara, not to tamper with structures at the House of Assembly quarters.

The leaders comprising of past and present members of the National Assembly, local government chairmen and opinion leaders, yesterday, stormed the assembly quarters on Port Harcourt-Aba expressway in a surprised visit to the quarters to assess the condition of the buildings.

Some of the leaders included: Hon. Kingsly Chinda, Lawmaker Representing Obio/Akpor at the House Representatives, Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah, former lawmaker, who represented Gokana/Tai Federal Constituency, Sen. Olaka Nwogu, Senator, represented Rivers South-East Senetorial District, Chief Tony Okocha. Rivers APC caretaker Chairman, Igo Aguma, Former lawmaker, Represented Port Harcourt Federal Constituency, Desmond Akawor, former PDP chairman, Rivers State among others.

The visit followed the recent visit of Governor Fubara to the facility and the fears that the government was on the move to commence renovation work on the facility which would impede the Martins Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

On arrival at the quarters, Speaker of the House, Amaewhule, had informed the leaders that there was a concluded plot by the governor of the state to bring down the structures the same way he demolition of House of Assembly Complex.

Amaewhule said the structures were in excellent condition, fully functional and were currently occupied by the lawmakers and their family members.

He said: “This facility is the facility of the Rivers State House of Assembly. We have also brought in experts, engineers and there is nothing wrong with these structures. They are fully in use and fully functional. All the experts confirmed to us that this building is one of the best in the entire West Africa. 

"This complex was constructed by the former Governor, Nyesom Wike and inaugurated in August 2022 by the current chief of staff to Mr. President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila. We are happy with the building and everything is working well. 

"We didn't write to the governor and we didn't invite him. We didn't ask for his help because we don't need it. We don't need his intervention in any way. Any attempt to talk about reconstruction or demolition is clearly an assault on democracy and an assault on members resident in these buildings.”

“The Rivers State Government is not the office of the governor. It comprises the legislature, executive and the judiciary. The governor has no right to claim it as his personal property. It is the property of the Rivers State House of Assembly. So without an invitation to the governor, he has no right to break into our property".

However, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, in his address said the leaders and elders were worried over reports of a planned demolition of democratic institution and decided to visit to assess the condition of the premises.

Chinda disclosed that before the visit they had engaged experts in the civil engineering profession to assess the integrity of the structures at the quarters and that their report showed that they would last for more than 25 years.

He said: “However, as members of the National Assembly from Rivers State, we have joined the leaders and elders of the state to discuss the issues happening in our state the latest being the threat to bring down the structures in this premises. 

“We have commissioned engineers and experts to study and give us the report of the integrity of these structures. We have received the report. And the report says these structures have a lifespan of nothing less than 25 years. 

"We have on our own come out to physically inspect the structures to crosscheck it with the report we received and these structures are still strong and healthy. Our apartments in the National Assembly are not better than what we have seen here. 

“We want to advise the governor to bridle a little bit at exuberance that we had seen within this period. It doesn't portend well to our state.”

He noted that the National Assembly would soon take a decision in the collective interest of the state.

Chinda said: “We members of the National Assembly have not spoken. We have observed. But we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our state fly. We are coming out and we will take position without looking at anybody. 

“It will be a position that will be in the interests of the state. No one individual is larger than Rivers State. We are members, leaders and elders of Rivers and this state we must protect".

Also, former Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani, said assessments have revealed that there was nothing wrong with the structures, calling on the governor to jettison any plan to tamper with quarters.

Ibani said: “We have listened to the Speaker, Martins Amaewhule, who cited many rulings and judgement of courts in relation to what is happening in Rivers. For me as a former Speaker, I have sense of disappointment at what is happening today. 

I am here with the other leaders to check whether there is anything wrong with the structure. There is nothing wrong with the structure. You don't need to be a civil engineer to know there is nothing wrong with the structure. 

“Public money should be channeled into the development of the state and making the people to be happy. Government should try to diversify the economy. It is of old that action and reaction are equal and opposite, but I will say that action and reaction are opposite but they are not equal. 

Meanwhile, the Rivers Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Chief Tony Okocha, hailed the leaders and elders across party lines for moving to defend democracy, insisting that the 27 lawmakers remained members of the APC and that the party would continue to protect them.

He said: “This goes to show the world that Rivers people are united. We are one. The speaker had taken us round the premises and had given us the synopsis of what transpired when the governor in a Gestapo manner cane with thugs to harass the inhabitants here. 

“27 lawmakers are members of our party and we owe them the responsibility to protect and defend them. At every twist and turn, the governor attempts to see how he can curry political patronage by claiming that he supports Mr. President. It is not true. It is a fluke.

“The world should know that they are not supporters of Mr. President. They want to lash on it to see whether they can continue to engage in their illegality. As chairman of APC, Rivers State, I have taken a look at the details of voting in the past election and it is clear to me that the governor did not vote for Mr. President".

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