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Police Take Over All 23 Local Council Secretariats in Rivers State Amid Political Clashes

All 23 local council secretariats in Rivers State have been taken over by the police following clashes between supporters of two political factions. Youths and party enthusiasts have been warned to stay away from the council secretariats.

Grace Iringe-Koko, Superintendent of Police and Public Relations Officer (PPRO), stated that this move comes after a breakdown of law and order at various Local Government Council secretariats. The clashes, involving supporters of the Nyesom Wike and Sim Fubara factions, were over the tenure of local government council chairmen.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, the police reported a fatal incident in Eberi-Omuma, Omuma LGA, where a police officer and a vigilante were killed. To prevent further violence and maintain order, the police have secured all 23 council secretariats and critical government infrastructure in the state.

Superintendent Iringe-Koko mentioned that both conventional and anti-riot police officers have been deployed to these facilities. She urged all groups and individuals to remain law-abiding, warning that the police would enforce the law against anyone attempting to cause further unrest.

“We also wish to ask the law-abiding residents and visitors in the state to go about their lawful businesses without fear. We are resolved to carry out our constitutional duty of protecting lives and property,” she added.

The fracas, which spread across nearly all the LGAs in the state on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, stemmed from a power struggle between the Wike and Fubara camps. The tenure of the council chairmen expired on Monday, June 17, 2024, but the chairmen claimed they received a six-month extension from a factional House of Assembly. The matter is now in court, with a hearing scheduled for June 20, 2024.

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