Daily Trust (Abuja)

12 July 2013

Nigeria: Amaechi - Rivers Under Siege - Jonathan Denies Hand in Crisis

Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor Rotimi Ameachi yesterday said all security commanders in state have stopped relating with him for about two months now.

He told visiting Senate Committee on State and local Government administration investigating the crisis in the State that the Government and people of the State are under siege, and he is fearing for the worst.

"We are under siege here. For two months now we have not met with security men. Security Commanders in the State don't come to me any longer. They are either scared or they don't deliberately want to see me. They withdrew soldiers attached to me yesterday and this morning they withdrawn the APC attached to Government house," he said.

"Yesterday they were shooting tear gas into Government house. When we were meeting with the deputy inspector General today, the Police claimed that it was inadvertent ... So I asked one question, supposing it was live bullet and it hit me, they said nooo. I was outside, you can check," Amaechi lamented.

Earlier, chairman of the Senate committee Senator Kabiru Gaya said the team was delegated by the Senate to investigate and find a workable solution to the crisis rocking the state.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has denied he has a hand in the current political turmoil in Rivers state decried attempts by some individuals and groups to place responsibility for the unpleasant developments on him.

"We are constrained to state once again that there is absolutely no factual basis for suggestions that some of the politicians involved in the current dispute are acting at the behest of the president," his spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement yesterday.

"President Jonathan certainly did not instigate the crisis in the Rivers State House of Assembly and as President of the nation, he will never support any actions that negate his avowed commitment to the rule.

"He called on all those who were remotely or directly involved in heightening political tension in the state to put an immediate end to their actions which are capable of plunging the state into public disorder and strive to settle their political differences without further recourse to barbaric acts of violence.

"President Jonathan expects all members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, irrespective of their current affiliation or loyalties, to comport themselves with greater restraint while efforts continue to resolve existing differences and restore internal harmony to the state branch of the party," Abati said.

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