Saturday, 8 March 2014
Amaechi / Jonathan Feud: Police IG Orders Council Secretariat Sacked
SaharaReporters just learnt that a police detachment in Rivers State today invaded and sacked the secretariat of Obio-Akpro local government as the feud between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State heats up. A source who spoke to our correspondent alleged that the police officers acted on the orders of Inspector General of Police Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar.
Two weeks ago, the Rivers State House of Assembly had suspended the local council’s chairman along with 17 councilors, replacing them with a caretaker committee pending the investigation of the council’s affairs. However, our sources disclosed that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Rumuokoro descended on the secretariat, harassed council workers and cordoned off the premises.
Obio-Akpro is the LGA of Nigeria's Nyeson Wike, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education, who once served as Governor Amaechi’s chief of staff. Mr. Wike is one of the politically prominent persons from Rivers State who are opposed to Mr. Amaechi.
Before his appointment to the federal cabinet, Mr. Wike was arrested and briefly tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on money laundering charges.
Some political observers predict that the crisis between President Jonathan and Governor Amaechi could snowball into a crisis, paving the way for the president to declare a state of emergency in the state and kick out Mr. Amaechi from office.
Political associates of President Jonathan are reportedly plotting Mr. Amaechi’s removal in order to deny the governor the economic and political clout to jeopardize the president’s quest for a second term in office come 2015. Other sources insist that Mr. Jonathan’s moves to clip Governor Amaechi’s political wings enjoy the support of many residents of Rivers State who accused the governor of corruption and political arrogance.
“Governor Amaechi bulldozed the oldest hospital in Port Harcourt, claiming he was going to build another one on the site,” said a critic of the governor, a human rights activist based in the state capital. “Today, nobody has seen any serious indication that the governor is building another hospital. So why did he have to demolish the old one?”
Another anti-Amaechi source told SaharaReporters that the governor was engaging in too much gallivanting on a jet bought with state funds. “He has been using the plane like a kabu-kabu, dropping his friends all over the country,” she said.
Last week, Mr. Jonathan grounded a Bombardier jet used by the state governor. Nigerian aviation authorities declared that the jet’s registration papers were outdated and forged. However, Rivers State officials denied the charges, accusing the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, of incompetence, adding that her office had deliberately refused to process the jet six months after papers were filed at the relevant agency. An official of the Rivers State government also revealed that Caverton Helicopters was under pressure from Nigerian authorities to deny the existence of a contract between it and the state.
The company’s acknowledgment of a contract is reportedly needed in order to perfect the paperwork for the Bombardier jet and a helicopter by the Aviation Ministry. The source stated that the minister had threatened to revoke Caverton Helicopters’ air operating license if the airline did not distance itself from the Rivers State government on the matter.