Confusion as police invade Rivers Assembly, fire live ammunition

By The Citizen

Confusion once again enveloped the Rivers State House of Assembly on Thursday as the police stormed the Assembly complex, shooting live ammunition and firing teargas canisters to disperse the sitting of 25 lawmakers loyal to the State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.

The 25 lawmakers met to hold the first plenary in the House since it was sealed off in July following a bloody fracas in the Assembly.

The pro-Amaechi lawmakers had converged on the Assembly complex following the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja which declared as illegal the order of the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Rivers Assembly.

On Thursday, however, trouble started as the police barred the 25 lawmakers from entering the Assembly chambers while the stunned lawmakers resolved to hold their sitting outside the complex.

Confusion ensued when the police suddenly began shooting teargas and live ammunition at the lawmakers, who ran in different directions to avoid being hit by the live bullets while tears dripped from many of them from the impact of the teargas canisters fired by the police.

It could not be ascertained if there was any casualty or the number of people injured in the melee.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Leyii Kwani, presided over the sitting.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Ibim Semenitari, confirmed the invasion of ther Assembly by policemen, decrying the level of 'impunity ravaging the country.'

She said, 'It is an indication of the impunity ravaging the country and a clear indication that the PDP, under the present leadership, has lost all forms of democratic conduct.

'They can't even pretend to wear a mien of civility. Rather, they are practising jackboot governance and repression worse than we have ever seen under the military.'

State Commissioner of  Police, Jospeh Mbu, could not be reached for comments. Punch