Rivers State: Political crisis escalates as government demolishes Assembly building

Intrigues surrounding the political crisis in Rivers State intensified on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, as the state House of Assembly Complex was demolished. This event occurred simultaneously with Governor Siminalayi Fubara presenting the N800bn 2024 budget estimates to Edison Ehie-led group at the Government House.

The demolition was carried out by the state government, with reports indicating that the exercise was executed for renovation purposes.

About 10 bulldozers reportedly drove into the premises of the state House of Assembly, which is located on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, marking the beginning of the demolition process.

In a related development, Governor Siminalayi Fubara presented the N800bn 2024 budget estimates to the Edison Ehie-led group at the Government House. This presentation took place at the same time as the demolition of the state House of Assembly complex

The Ehie group was recognised by the court as the Speaker of the House.

A report of Channels Television states that presentation of the budget was held at a hall in the Government House, apparently, due to the “renovation” work at the state assembly complex which started Wednesday morning.

“Bulldozers arrived at the complex around 6am on Wednesday and commenced the demolition exercise about two months after fire gutted the complex,” it disclosed, adding that, 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly on Monday, December 11, 2023, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The 27 members were said to be loyal to Martins Amaewhule, who is an ally of Nyesom Wike, a governor of the state till May 29, 2023.

Recall that the crisis in the 32-member Assembly had begun as a result of a rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike.

In October, the Assembly under Amaewhule served an impeachment notice on Fubara and removed Ehie as the House leader. However, some members of the Assembly loyal to Fubara immediately impeached Amaewhule and made Ehie the new Speaker.

A Rivers High Court sitting in Port Harcourt subsequently restrained the Amaewhule-led group from forcefully gaining access into the assembly complex, pending the hearing of the suit before it.

Meanwhile, elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has again urged President Bola Tinubu to call Wike, the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to order over the political situation in Rivers State.

Clark said if all former governors insist on controlling their successors, there will be chaos in the country.

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