‘APC scheming for military coup in Rivers’
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has attributed the attack and vandalisation of the state judiciary complex in Port Harcourt, yesterday, to a ploy by the Police and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to overthrow the state government.
Hundreds of APC supporters, as early as 6am, barricaded the Rivers State High Courts premises and padlocked all the entrances leading to the court under the watch of Police officers.
The Guardian gathered that the senator representing Rivers South East, Magnus Abe, had filed a suit, in which he is seeking for an injunction to stop the APC council congress was scheduled for hearing; hence the other faction of the party mobilised hundreds of youths, who then shut down the court premises.
While the siege was on, some of the youths went into the court premises started vandalising court documents in offices, smashing glass windows, ransacking the court library, destroyed vehicles and looting shops.
Hundreds of expended bullets littered the High Court Complex yesterday.
Some others stayed at Station Road and started hauling stones at the court.
Amid this pandemonium, hundreds of alleged Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters, who thought there was a sinister motive behind the attack on the courts and sealing of the premises, started arriving in buses. The moment a sizable number assembled, they forcefully destroyed all the padlocks and overwhelmed the APC members, who had earlier sealed off the court.
Sporadic gunshots were heard within the court premises.
The APC faction that had the case in court, unhappy with the Police for not dispersing those that had earlier besieged the court complex, later started hauling stones at the Police officers, who in return started shooting in the air to disperse the crowd.
Wike, who later visited the courts to ascertain the extent of damage, accused the Police of connivance with leaders of the APC to close the courts and stop it from dispensing justice to Rivers people.
“This is very unfortunate. Do not trivialise this invasion by saying it is just an attack by the APC on the judiciary. This is a complete coup by the Nigerian Police and the APC to overthrow the Rivers State Government,” he said.
The governor said it was preposterous for factions of APC that has legal dispute to resort to violence, forcefully shut down the court premises and vandalise court properties.
According to him, attack on the judiciary was an attack and coup against the government of Rivers State, saying the attack has vindicated his earlier position that the APC had become so desperate that its leadership wants to truncate democracy to foist on Nigerians a military junta.
He regretted that the Rivers State Police commissioner failed to avert the invasion of the court premises, despite calling on him several time to arrest the situation.
“We must defend ourselves and the nation’s democracy. We cannot continue to rely on the police. Remember, it was the Police that kidnapped a sitting governor,” he said.
He commended Rivers youths for rising in defence of their mandate by mobilising to open the courts, despite the shootings by the Police.
The governor was taken round the court premises during the inspection tour of the High Court Complex by the state Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Laminkara, and the State Attorney General and Commissioner for justice, Mr. Emmanuel Aguma.