As early as 7:15am, members of the APC had gathered at the party’s secretariat on Forces Avenue, warming up to march down to the House of Assembly complex on Moscow road to denounce alleged refusal by the leadership of the assembly to swear in two elected members of the party, Hon Victoria Nyeche, Port Harcourt state constituency 1 and Hon Andrew Miller elected to represent Opobo Nkoro state constituency.
Almost at the same time, members of the PDP had assembled around Moscow road, housing the assembly complex chanting party songs. The Police quickly moved to avert any clash as it deployed patrol vehicles blocking any direct contact between the two groups.
Meantime, secretary of the APC in the state, Chief Emeka Beke said the protest was to condemn the alleged reluctance on the leadership of the House to swear in the two members of the party elected as state legislators.
He said they had to shelve the idea of marching to the assembly complex because they heard the governor was going to the House so will not want any clash.
“Two of our members were elected to serve in the Rivers State House of Assembly and today, they don’t want to swear them in. Even if it is one person, the person should be a minority voice in the House. Give our members, Victoria Nyeche and Andrew Miller the opportunity to sit in the Chamber. That is what we are asking for.
“The governor had fixed a programme in the House of Assembly and because APC is a law-abiding party that has the fear of God, we want to give them the benefit of doubt. But subsequent times, we will not accept that. Whatever they want to happen will happen; we will not take it anymore.” He later led his party members to protest on a portion of Aba road. Some of the placards they carried read, “Wike respect rule of law, swear our elected members into the House. Rivers state House of Assembly must obey court order, swear our members in “.
The PDP on its part, said they came out in their large numbers because they wanted to pay a solidarity visit on the Speaker of the House, Hon Adams Dabatorudima but were being prevented by the police. Publicity secretary of the party, Mr Sam Nwanosike alleged that members of his party were attacked by the Police in a bid to stop them from marching to the complex.
His words, “As Peoples Democratic Party members, we wrote the state chairman and told him that we are going to pay a solidarity visit to the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, who incidentally is a youth. It is on record that this is the first time a youth is running the affairs of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“So, we chose today, November 17, 2016 to visit Mr. Speaker. Funny enough, on our way to the Rivers State House of Assembly, we saw fierce looking Policemen, who attacked us with live ammunition, enough tear-gas. As I am talking to you, a few of our colleagues are in the hospital right now with life threatening injuries. One is at Saint Patrick’s Hospital, another one is at Riverside Hospital and I don’t know the hospital they took him to.”