Rivers boils as Police disperse APC, PDP protesters

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It was another orgy of violence in Rivers State on Thursday as operatives of the State Police Command dispersed protesting members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The APC members had the first encounter with the security agents when they headed for the premises of the Rivers State House of Assembly to press for the swear­ing-in of its party candidates, Mrs. Victoria Nyeche and Mr. Andrew Miller, as lawmakers.
The protesters, numbering over 300 carried placards with in­scriptions such as: “Rivers State House of Assembly stop being appendage of the Executive arm; Rivers Assembly swear in our can­didates; APC candidates must be sworn into the Assembly”.
They were led by the APC State Secretary, Mr. Emeka Bekee.
The protest was however dis­rupted along Bank Road when the police stopped their further move to the Assembly Complex.
Bekee told newsmen at the scene of incident that they were barred by the police and demand­ed the immediate swearing-in of the APC candidates.
He said that the protest was organised for Nigerians to know the level of intimidation of the party members who won the As­sembly positions in their constit­uencies.
He said: “We were told that the governor wants to visit the Assem­bly today. That is to tell you that the governor knows what he is do­ing and the APC will not accept it.”
Coincidentally, support­ers of the PDP led by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, also led a solidarity rally to the Assembly.
The procession was also dis­rupted by the police who insisted that the protests must not go on to avoid crisis.
Nwanosike, who also spoke to journalists said, that “what hap­pened can never be a coincidence; every human being has his pro­gramme and policies. How would we have known that the APC has a protest today?
“The PDP members wrote to the party chairman informing him that we want to pay a courte­sy visit to the Speaker of the Riv­ers State House of Assembly and we approached our various lo­cal government chairmen who agreed that they will accompany us on the visit.
“But on our way to the Assem­bly we saw fierce-looking police officers who attacked us with live ammunition and teargas. You can see our wounded members. As I am talking to you some of mem­bers are in critical conditions in various hospitals in the state.
“We thank God Almighty that He gave us the grace, resil­ience and tenacity to stand the test of this pressure from the Ni­geria Police, who are supposed to protect us. We want to say that Mr. President who is the father of all should call for an investigation of the police action. In a democratic setting, we are supposed to be giv­en the right to speak, associate and a right to assemble together but we were being intimidated for no just cause,” he lamented.
The State Command Pub­lic Relations Officer, Mr. Nnam­di Omoni, declined comment on the matter.

– Authority

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