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Rivers State Assembly withdraws impeachment notice amidst presidential intervention

Minister of Defence Commends Peace Efforts as Factional Rifts Deepen Among State Leaders

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In a tumultuous turn of events, the Rivers State House of Assembly on Wednesday retracted its impeachment notice against Governor Siminalayi Fubara, a move reportedly influenced by the intervention of President Bola Tinubu. The decision, disclosed by 27 lawmakers loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike, was confirmed by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, who attested to the authenticity of Fubara’s signature on the resolution document.

Speaking on a Channels Television program, Johnson emphasized the governor’s commitment to the peace process, dismissing doubts about the agreement’s legitimacy. He added that Fubara, known for his adherence to rules, would soon reveal initiatives signaling his dedication to fostering peace in the state.

The pro-Wike lawmakers, acknowledging President Tinubu’s involvement, declared their withdrawal of the impeachment notice during the 89th Legislative Sitting in Port Harcourt. In a statement signed by the media aide to the Speaker, Martins Wachukwu, they pledged to continue their constitutional duties for the state’s development.

However, not everyone welcomed Tinubu’s intervention. Rivers elders and leaders, including Chief Rufus Ada-George and Sir Gabriel Toby, criticized the move, denouncing it as executive rascality. In a communiqué after an emergency meeting, the elders expressed concern that the president’s involvement might exacerbate the crisis in the state. They argued that Tinubu’s directives contravened the constitution and undermined the separation of powers.

The statement condemned what it termed “executive rascality,” asserting that such actions undermined constitutional democracy, the rule of law, and good governance. The elders asserted that only the courts had the authority to reverse decisions, questioning the legitimacy of directives that seemed to favor certain political figures.

Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly’s chambers, along with adjacent offices, have been entirely demolished. Bulldozers were observed clearing the rubble, and the remaining structures appeared spatially separated from the demolished chamber. The action followed the intensifying political turmoil in the state.

In another development, a mild drama unfolded at the Rivers State High Court, where lawmakers moved to withdraw motions filed against them by Governor Siminalayi Fubara. The presiding judge, Justice O. Ben-Whyte, noted that the decision emerged from a peace agreement in Abuja on Monday. While the defence counsel confirmed the withdrawal, the claimant’s counsel, Damian Okoro, SAN, expressed the need to consult with his client, leading to an adjournment to January 31, 2024, for a report on an alternative settlement.

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