Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has said he will lead a protest against the actions of the federal government and the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, and challenged the police boss to shoot him if he wished.
Amaechi said Mbu had turned Rivers to a police state where the movement of people was being restricted by the police, adding that it was time the people rose up to the challenge.
Amaechi spoke Tuesday when the people from Orashi region, comprising Abua/Odual, Ahoada-east, Ahoada-west and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the state paid him a solidarity visit in Port Harcourt.
The people, who were led by the senator representing Rivers West senatorial zone, Senator Wilson Ake, had recounted how the commissioner of police had mobilised his men to stop the people from leaving their areas and entering Port Harcourt for the visit.
Reacting to the information, an enraged Amaechi said: “You should have recorded the incident so that we can show it to the world how much of a tyrant our commissioner of police is.
“The commissioner of police cannot say he banned protests (assuming you were coming to protest) when it is part of your fundamental human rights and the fundamental human rights are there in the constitution. So his order is now superior to the constitution? And he stopped people who want to merely express their views.
“We have been suffering. We are now in a police state in Rivers State if they block the entire Orashi region; not to allow more than a million persons; that area contains more than a million persons because you have Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada-east, Ahoada-west, Abua/Odual.
“And all the policemen put together in Rivers State are not more than 17,000 and with their guns they tried to stop you.
“What you showed them is what we call ‘Peoples Power’. That you came out despite the fact that the police blocked the roads, looking for persons in buses; that you still passed them and got to this place, means that you are stronger and more courageous than me.”
He expressed dissatisfaction with the activities of the commissioner and said the state was planning a protest against Mbu and the federal government.
He added: “We are looking for a date we will demonstrate against what the federal government and the commissioner of police are doing in Rivers State. We have told our chiefs to get ready. Once we get a date from people from overseas and Nigeria that will join us, we will give you the date.
“I have told the commissioner of police to be ready to shoot me; I will be in front. I will not sit here and wait for you to come and give me a letter. Instead, I will put the Secretary to State Government (SSG) here, then I with march down with you people and we will give the SSG’s letter to give to the federal government.
“So that if they want to shoot, they can shoot me. We have a right to express our views.”
Amaechi attributed the crisis rocking the state to his resolve to protect the oil wells of the state and also stand on the side of the people against those from outside the state who wished to hijack the resources of the state.
“I have said part of the fight we are having now is over our resolve to protect our oil wells. The next thing is that there are politicians who have played politics with us and in the past eight years, they have not been part of government and poverty has set in.
“They say we are not running an ‘inclusive government’. My brother, Ekiti State governor, calls it ‘stomach infrastructure’.
“Also, part of the problems we are having is that our brothers who have gathered in Abuja have been hijacked by those who are not from Rivers State to cause confusion in the state and using just one weapon: non-inclusive government,” he explained
He vowed that the people of the state would resist attempts to mortgage the state.
“The danger in letting them take power is that for four years they will not be able to do anything. The reason is that for eight years they have gotten nothing.
“So for four years, they will sit down and chop and before they remember that you people are there, it will be too late. But we will stop them. They can bring 20 commissioners of police, they can bring 20 Mbus, but the people’s power will resist them the way you did this morning,” he promised.
The state police command, however, denied its involvement in the said attempt at restricting the movement of people from the Orashi region of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Angela Agabe (DSP), said the police commissioner would not do anything that would infringe on the rights of the people.
Meanwhile, the member representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chief Andrew Uchendu, has pledged that no person of Ikwerre extraction would succeed Ameachi in 2015.
Uchendu said yesterday in Port Harcourt, while reacting to the alleged declaration by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, to run for the governorship seat in 2015, that the people of Ikwerre ethnic nationality got the support of other ethnic nationalities in the state to produce a governor of Ikwerre extraction in 2007, and were ready to reciprocate the gesture at the right time.
Uchendu, who is a founding member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said: “We pleaded with other ethnic nationalities in the state to give us the needed support to produce a governor of Ikwerre extraction in 2007.
“These ethnic nationalities gave us the support. So we are not going to support another Ikwerre man to succeed Amaechi in 2015. If we do that, it will show that we did not appreciate the support these ethnic nationalities gave to us.”
Uchendu appealed to the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to call Wike to order, pointing out that the minister had gone ahead to launch his campaign for 2015 general election when the electoral umpire had not given any go-ahead to do so.
He said: “Wike has to be called to order. Rivers State does not belong to him; PDP does not belong to him.
“How can he go ahead to begin campaign for 2015 election when INEC has not given the go-ahead on that? I am appealing to PDP and INEC to call him to order.”