Jul 9, 2013

Fracas In Rivers House: A blow by blow account

.Majority leader, speaker beaten
.Bipi made himself speaker for a few minutes
.Bipi asked his cops, thugs to shoot Governor Amaechi
.Bipi resisted arrest
.Order later restored in the Assembly, with Speaker Amachree taking charge

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Rivers state House of Assembly witnessed a very rowdy session today for some minutes after two months of adjournment as pro Governor Rotimi Amaechi legislators battled five renegade lawmakers rooting for the political opponents of the governor.
The minority lawmakers, whose agenda was to impeach the governor made the impeachment of Speaker Otelemaba Amachree and other principal officers the first priority. They thus stole into the House of Assembly at about 8.30 am earlier before the normal sitting of the House and smuggled in a mace.

But they met eight Pro- Amaechi lawmakers including the Speaker Otelemaba Amachree, Chidi Llyod, the majority Leader and six others in the assembly.

Frustrated that their coup was a mission impossible , one of the five rebels, Evans Bapakaye Bipi, went straight to Chidi Llyod’s seat and physically assaulted him.

As Llyod and Bipi were having a fisticuff, the Speaker who stepped in to separate them was also attacked by Bipi.
Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly Chidi Lloyd in the clinic after being beaten by armed thugs Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly Chidi Lloyd in the clinic after being beaten by armed thugs
A free-for -all started, with blows being exchanged by both sides.

Lloyd was injured, while Martins Amaehule another anti-Ameachi Lawmaker representing Obio-Akpor was also injured and rushed to St Patricks Hospital at Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt for treatment.

As the fracas degenerated, some of the pro-Amaechi lawmakers ran for their dear lives because of the many thugs brought into the Assembly premises by Bipi and his group.

The moment was seized by the minority lawmakers, as a member of the group, Victor Ihunwo, representing Port Harcourt constituency stepped into the Speaker’s seat to “Pilot “ the affairs.

Martins Amaehule moved the “motion” for the “Impeachment” of the Speaker who has been rushed out after the physical assault. Kelechi Worgu an anti-Amaechi, representing Omuma Constituency “supported” the motion and thereafter announced Bipi as the new “Speaker.”

Governor Amaechi who was alerted about the fracas and the breakdown of law and order at the Assembly, arrived at the Assembly chambers, just in time to hear Evans Babakaya Bipialaka give a vote thanks for his ‘election’ as speaker of four other members.

According to witnesses, Bipialaka on sighting the Governor, ordered some thugs and policemen to “shoot him…shoot him”, pointing at the Governor.

Amaechi was said to have walked towards him and replied: “Shoot me?”

The Governor thereafter ordered his security men that came with him to arrest Bipialaka.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly entering the Chambers for sittingSpeaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly entering the Chambers for sitting
But Bipi’s orderly and Policemen who came with him resisted the arrest.

Bipi is the lawmaker who represents Ogu-Bolo Constituency, whose wedding was attended several weeks ago by Mrs Patience Jonathan as a Special Guest of Honour and Mother of the Day.

After the confrontation with the governor, Bipi and other other four lawmakers opposed to Amaechi left the assembly with their thugs.

After calm was restored, the house was re-convened at exactly 11.40 am with the Speaker, Otelemaba Dan-Amachree, presiding with 22 Lawmakers present.

P.M.News observed that there was still tension with thugs supporting the anti-Amaechi shouting that they be allowed into the Assembly but were prevented by pro-Amaechi supporters and House of Assembly Policemen.

The Governor later presented a minor amendment of the 2013 budget as it affects the capital expenditure only.

Mr Tele Ikuru,the Deputy Governor who read the proposed minor amendment on behalf of the Governor explained that the minor amendment only affects the capital expenditure.

The Deputy Leader Robinson Nnam Ewor moved a motion for the adoption of amendment and was supported by Mrs.Irene Inigba,the Chief Whip supported the motion.Order: The Rivers State House of Assembly in session 
Golden Chioma ,representing Etche Constituency Two moved a motion that the amendment should be committed to the committee of the whole house.
The Speaker asked if there was a counter-motion but there was none.

The amendment was committed into the House of the whole of 22 members present and was later adopted. Amaechi had 28 members on his side since the political fight started. Those that were not at the sitting were said to have sustained injuries and were undergoing medical treatment.

However, Freddy Itolo-Ofen,the Press Secretary to Bipi told P.M.News in an interview that his boss was properly elected as the Speaker of the House by the Five lawmakers.

“Hon Evans Bipialaka the New Speaker was making his vote of thanks when the Governor arrived and ordered that he should be arrested, but was resisted by Bipialaka and his orderly”.