12th December, 2013
Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly warned against any reliance on Wednesday’s judgement of a federal high court, nullifying the takeover by the National Assembly of the functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly, to perpetrate any mayhem or unconstitutional acts in Rivers State.
In a statement issued in Osogbo on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also warned the police and other security agencies not to provide cover for renegades to engage in any illegality, saying their role must be to ensure the safety and security of all legislators if and when the house decides to sit.
It said there is no doubt that the six legislators opposed to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi will try to hide under the cover of the judgement to convene the Assembly with the sole purpose of removing the Speaker as a prelude to impeaching the State Governor, but warned that any such act will constitute an illegality and trigger a cataclysmic reaction, the end result of which no one can predict.
”The six legislators opposed to Gov. Amaechi do not and cannot form a quorum (9 members) that will even allow the House to convene legally, not to talk of at least 20 members – representing two third majority – that can constitutionally impeach the Speaker. In a house of 32 members, there is no way six members can be more than 26, even under the warped arithmetic which the Jonathan Administration has been conjuring in recent times to back the losing faction of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
”However, we are aware that the renegade legislators, with the clear backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, have nothing but disdain for constitutionality and the rule of law, hence will have no qualms about carrying out any act of impunity.
”We are therefore constrained to warn, in the strongest possible terms, that we in the APC will take any impunity in Rivers as an impunity to all, and will vehemently resist such with a spontaneous explosion of people power not only in states under our control but across the country,” APC said.
Urging the police not to allow themselves to be used to perpetrate violence and chaos, the party said already, the Police Commissioner in Rivers has ordered that all roads leading to the House of Assembly complex in Port Harcourt be barricaded, perhaps as a prelude to escorting the renegade members to convene to illegally remove the Speaker.
To President Jonathan, APC said he must not allow personal and partisan considerations to blot out his responsibility as the father of the nation and put in jeopardy his constitutional role of ensuring the country’s unity.
”We are aware of the letter to President Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo virtually accusing the President of destroying the same nation he was elected to preside over and uplift. We hope he will not allow Obasanjo’s prognosis about him to come true so soon by backing any move that can plunge Nigeria into chaos.
”This is because we in the APC have resolved never to sit by and allow anyone, no matter how highly placed, to engage in actions that will make our country a laughing stock and a pariah in the comity of nations. Therefore, there will be no peace anywhere in the country if this Federal Government supports the perpetration of impunity in Rivers. This is not a threat, but the sure consequences of any acts of impunity,” it said
The party called on all people of goodwill, especially past leaders, to prevail on President Jonathan to back off the renegade MPs who are hell bent on causing mayhem in Rivers.
Meanwhile, the party has described Wednesday’s court ruling as bizarre and alarming, against the background of the massive mayhem that was unleashed in the Rivers House of Assembly last July.
It wondered why the court will say there were no facts that the House of Assembly could not carry out its functions, with the Mace as well as several heads broken and the hallowed chambers desecrated by a free-for-all that was watched all around the world.
”What else must occur before the stipulated conditions can prevail for the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Rivers House of Assembly? Is it when MPs are slaughtered like rams that such a condition will be deemed to have prevailed?
”We are astonished and concerned by this court ruling, especially coming shortly after we warned the judiciary not to allow itself to be used by unscrupulous people to reverse the gains that have been recorded under the present Chief Justice of Nigeria, who has embarked on determined and sincere efforts to clean up the judiciary,” APC said.