Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State today personally foiled an attempt to impeach the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
The speaker, Otelemaba Amachree, had convened a session of the legislature in order to amend certain portions of the Rivers State budget. The session followed a prolonged crisis in the state caused by schemes by President Goodluck Jonathan to impeach Mr. Amaechi, who is deemed an impediment to the president’s ambition to seek a second term.
Two lawmakers loyal to Mr. Amachree told Saharareporters that speaker sensed there was trouble in the air after he sent letters summoning members to today’s session. “The speaker now sent a message to the state commissioner of police and the brigade commander and leader of the Joint Task Force to ask for security to enable the house [to] sit,” said one of the lawmakers.
The other legislative source added that, unknown to the speaker, five renegade members of the assembly loyal to President Jonathan had met with the commissioner of police overnight and arranged to come prepared to impeach the speaker. “When we arrived at the state assembly today, we were surprised to see a huge number of military men and well armed policemen,” said the source.
SaharaReporters learnt that trouble soon started as a member of the house, Evans Bapakaye Bipi, representing Ogu/Bolo constituency arrived with thugs, pounced on the house leaders, Michael Chinda and Chidi Lloyd, while the police and the military kept their distance.
Our sources said when Governor Amaechi heard of the fracas and the refusal of the police and members of the JTF to intervene, he rushed to the house with his aides and armed escorts and succeeded in rescuing members of the house loyal to him.
As the governor and the majority of the legislators were leaving the site of the mayhem, they discovered that five renegade members of the house empowered by President Jonathan had seized the mace. They then ran back to retrieve the mace from the minority group, our sources said.