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Rivers crisis: Protesting youths chase LG boss, destroys Wike statue

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The chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria in Rivers, Allwell Ihunda, narrowly escaped a violent confrontation with protesting youths.

The incident took place along Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, the state capital of Rivers State, on Tuesday,

Ihunda, who is also the outgoing Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, was headed to the council secretariat with his aides and security detail when he encountered a group of angry youths blocking the entrance.

As Ihunda tried to enter the council, the youths began shouting and chasing him. The situation escalated quickly, with the youths attempting to catch him. Ihunda ran back to his car, and his security team fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd.

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He managed to jump into a black SUV and sped away, accompanied by his aides in two other vehicles, while the youths continued shooting into the air.

Eyewitnesses heard the youths shouting, “That is him, Allwell. Chase him. Who is he? Look at him, Mayor is running. Chase him. Are you mad? God punish you.” Despite efforts by Ihunda’s security to calm them, the youths were determined, questioning, “Why is he running?”

In a related incident, protesting youths in Obio-Akpor local government area pulled down a statue of Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and former two-term governor of Rivers State. A video circulating on social media showed more than ten youths gathered around the statue, criticizing the minister.

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One of them, speaking in the Ikwerre language, said, “Presido, let’s remove this thing (effigy). Just give me order.” They then shook the statue vigorously and pulled it from its base.

The unrest follows a vow by the state ALGON to remain in office despite their tenure ending on June 17. The LG chairmen, elected during Wike’s administration, cited a local government amendment law that extends their tenure by six months due to Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s failure to conduct local elections.

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The law, passed by the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly, has caused significant political tension.

Fubara, who survived an impeachment attempt last year, addressed the state in a broadcast on Tuesday, instructing local government administration heads to take over council affairs from Wednesday, June 19, until further notice.

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