There was tension in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday as some thugs stormed the premises of the House of Assembly.
The thugs were led by the five lawmakers opposed to Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
Some of the 27 lawmakers loyal to Amaechi were beaten by the thugs.
In fact, the Leader of the House, Chidi Lloyd, was injured.
The lawmakers were eventually rescued by Amaechi, who, on being told of the crisis, drove to the Assembly premises.
The lawmakers had reconvened to consider an amendment to the 2013 Appropriation Law, which the governor had communicated to the Speaker, Hon. Otelema Dan Amachree.
Before the arrival of the lawmakers, about 50 riot policemen had been stationed to provide security and ensure there was no breakdown of law and order.
The five anti-Amaechi lawmakers, however, arrived with some thugs and the policemen did not allow them to enter the premises with the thugs.
An Assembly source said a few minutes later, the leader of the police team received a call that the thugs should be allowed into the premises.
As soon as they entered, “all hell broke loose and Honourable Lloyd and others were beaten black and blue by these thugs. It was not a good sight at all,” a source said.
It was when the governor arrived that the thugs were chased away and the lawmakers rescued.
Those injured were taken to hospitals.
For close to one hour, there was pandemonium.
Later, calm was restored and the lawmakers sat for the business of the day.
They are expected to also sit on Wednesday.
Lloyd, who spoke from his hospital bed, said: “Well, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Otelema Dan Amachree, directed that the House be reconvened to consider an amendment to the 2013 appropriation law which the governor had communicated to him via a letter and as if Mr. Speaker saw what was going to happen today, he wrote a letter through the Clerk of the House to the Commissioner of Police to provide security for today’s sitting and he also wrote to the Commander of 2 Amphibious Brigade, who also doubles as the head of the internal Joint Task Force.
“So, when we got to work this morning, we saw the presence of policemen numbering over 50 and we thought that this was in response to Mr. Speaker’s request.
“Shortly thereafter, I noticed that the five anti-Amaechi members were discussing in clusters and calling on their boys to come in.
“Initially, the policemen were searching everybody who would come into the premises.
“I had to even come down at the gate and trekked into the premises.
“So after a while, we learnt that there were phone calls and the Commissioner of Police personally called the unit, the man in charge to allow everybody in.
“We went in as members, who have not seen ourselves for sometime because of the crisis in the state.
“I was on my seat, without provocation, Hon. Evans Bipi came to me in the full glare of everybody on camera and started raining punches on me.
“As his Leader, I did not react because I felt that it is something we could settle, whatever it is.
“May be I didn’t greet him.
“So, he continued.
“When that continued, the Speaker intervened and said, ha, what’s happening.
“Then he reached out for the tripod that stands the camera, used it freely on me – himself and Michael Okechukwu Chinda.
“They flogged me to their satisfaction.
“I didn’t utter a word until Hon. Ihunwo graciously asked me to run for my dear life because they have brought people with guns and, of course, when I looked at the gallery, they were shouting ‘who is the Chidi Lloyd, who is the Chidi Lloyd?
“So, at that point, I’m sure somebody may have reached out to the governor of the state who came in with his own security because these other policemen were there standing helplessly, watching what was going on.
“So, he came and rescued members out of the place.
“After a while, we heard that they had sat, that they were meeting, they were trying to meet, they had procured a fake mace to the House.
“So we went back and I took the mace where they were sitting, then I sustained injury as a result of the violence by Michael Chinda and Evans Bipi.
“So, while I was in the hospital, the speaker and other members of the House sat and heard the amendment that the governor sent, presented on his behalf by the deputy governor.
“Now, these amendments are, the governor said, he was just seeking for us to via some sub heads for him to enable him take care of certain unforeseen events such as flood and all that.
“That is why we went to work for the state only to be dealt with in the manner that they have dealt with us.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that while in the hospital here, I have received phone calls of threat to life for my family and I.
“Incidentally, I’m so helpless.
“I don’t know who to run to.
“I can’t go to the Commissioner of Police because he is already in the arena, he’s already on the other side.
“I’m appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to pray for me and my family.
“That is the last hope we have resorted to and that we also urge the National Assembly, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives not to turn the other way on the events of Rivers State.
“This could lead to something that we cannot imagine.
“It had happened in Anambra State.
“People were laughing.
“Today, is Rivers State.
“Nobody knows the next state it would be.
“If we are practicing democracy, let us please, for crying out loud, play by the rules.
“Nigerians should pray for me and come to our aid.
“The state is under siege.
“You can’t even vouch for the safety of the governor.”
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