Due to conflicts between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, the closure of the Rivers State House of Assembly continues over a week after a bombing incident at the facility.
It’s important to remember that the Assembly was bombed by alleged arsonists in response to rumors of Governor Fubara’s possible impeachment proceedings. This resulted in the main plenary hall where legislators convene being burned down on the evening of Sunday, October 29, 2023.
Despite this incident, around 24 legislators headed by Speaker Martin Amaewhule, convened in the Assembly hall the following day (Monday) and began processing impeachment charges against the governor.
Yet, on the same day, Port Harcourt House Leader Edisos Ehie, who had earlier been suspended, informed the press that 26 of his fellow legislators had elected him as the new Speaker.
He also confirmed the indefinite suspension of the Rivers Assembly due to the ongoing strike by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, demanding fiscal autonomy for legislative houses nationwide.
The PUNCH reported that the Rivers House of Assembly on Moscow Road, near the state police headquarters, looked quite different on Tuesday.
Even though the large number of armed guards, patrol cars, and an armored vehicle that were stationed in front of the Assembly during the trouble were removed, copious police presence and a few security cars continued to occupy both entrance routes to the complex.
However, an observing patrol was positioned opposite the Assembly Compound with merely a staff member and the driver.
The entrance guard informed that the admittance has been currently suspended but did note the presence of two individuals inside the premises.
When queried by The PUNCH about when the legislature would resume, legislator representing Andoni, Ofiks Kagbank, reiterated that the Assembly has been indefinitely halted.
He said, “As I am not the leader of the House, I can’t determine when will the next meeting be as it has been adjourned sine die (without a further date).
“Only the Speaker can summon it, and I trust you will come to know when he does. Further, the legislative staff is on strike as well.”
Efforts to get insights from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Martin Amaewhule, were unsuccessful as he did not respond to multiple attempts at contact.
A PASAN official seen at the entrance was apprehensive when contacted.
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“We are participating in a nationwide strike. That’s the present status,” he disclosed.
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