BREAKING: Rivers Youths Shut Down LG Secretariat, Demand Chairman’s Removal as Tenure Expires

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In a dramatic turn of events, youths in Rivers State have taken to the streets, shutting down the Asari Toru Local Government Secretariat. Their demand? The immediate removal of their Chairman as his tenure comes to an end. This incident is part of a broader conflict involving Local Government Area (LGA) chairmen and the state government, leading to heightened tensions and legal battles.

The Incident at Asari Toru LG Secretariat

On June 17, 2024, a large group of youths descended upon the Asari Toru Local Government Secretariat. Their mission was clear: to demand the removal of the Chairman whose tenure officially expires today. The Chairman, facing intense pressure and public outcry, reportedly fled his office as the residents invaded the secretariat premises. The situation escalated quickly, necessitating the deployment of security operatives to maintain order and prevent further chaos.

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Background of the Dispute

The unrest is tied to an ongoing legal and political battle between the LGA chairmen and Governor Sim Fubara. The LGA chairmen, elected in 2021, have been embroiled in a dispute over the extension of their tenure. According to Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto, Legal Adviser of the 21 LGA chairmen and Chairman of Andoni LGA, the chairmen were supposed to step down as their tenure ends in June 2024. However, due to the absence of conducted elections, the chairmen argue that they should remain in office until new elections are held.

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Statements from Key Figures

Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto emphasized the legality of the chairmen’s continued stay in office. He stated, “We were elected in 2021, and our tenure expires in June. However, LG elections should have been concluded, and winners should be awaiting swearing-in. The Assembly recognizes that no action has been taken to conduct elections, and therefore, we must maintain democratically elected Chairmen until elections are done, as stated in the local government law.”

This stance has not only fueled the tensions but also led to a legal battle currently in court. The next hearing is scheduled after the chairmen’s tenure officially ends, further complicating the situation.

Governor Sim Fubara’s Position

Governor Sim Fubara has been firm in his stance against the extension of the chairmen’s tenure. He insists on adhering to the scheduled expiration of their terms and the necessity for new elections. The governor’s position has garnered support from various quarters, further polarizing the issue.

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Community Reaction and Youth Involvement

The reaction from the community, particularly the youth, has been vehement. The shutdown of the LG Secretariat by the youths of Rivers State underscores their frustration and demand for immediate change. Their actions reflect a broader sentiment of disenfranchisement and impatience with the political process.

Security Measures and Government Response

In response to the shutdown and potential for unrest, security operatives have been deployed to the Asari Toru LG Secretariat. Their presence aims to restore order and ensure the safety of both public officials and residents. The government’s response also includes efforts to engage with community leaders to address the grievances of the youths and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Legal and Political Implications

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The ongoing legal battle has significant implications for local governance in Rivers State. The outcome of the court case will not only determine the immediate future of the LGA chairmen but also set a precedent for handling similar disputes in the future. It highlights the complexities of local government law and the challenges of ensuring a smooth transition of power in a politically charged environment.

The Role of Former Governor Nyesom Wike

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Former Governor Nyesom Wike, whose influence remains strong in the state, has been linked to the current chairmen. His legacy and political maneuvers continue to shape the dynamics of local governance in Rivers State. The loyalty of the LGA chairmen to Wike adds another layer to the conflict, complicating the resolution process.

What’s Next?

As the legal battle unfolds and tensions remain high, the future of the Asari Toru Local Government Secretariat and the wider local government administration in Rivers State hangs in the balance. The next steps will involve close monitoring of the court proceedings, continued engagement with the community, and strategic decisions by the state government to manage the situation effectively.

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FAQs

Why did the youths shut down the Asari Toru Local Government Secretariat?

The youths demanded the removal of the Chairman as his tenure expired, reflecting their frustration with the political process and lack of new elections.

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What is the main issue between the LGA chairmen and the state government?

The dispute centers on the expiration of the LGA chairmen’s tenure and their claim to remain in office until new elections are held, against the state government’s insistence on adhering to the scheduled end of their terms.

Who is Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto?

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Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto is the Legal Adviser of the 21 LGA chairmen and Chairman of Andoni LGA, advocating for the extension of the chairmen’s tenure until new elections are conducted.

What role does Governor Sim Fubara play in this conflict?

Governor Sim Fubara opposes the extension of the chairmen’s tenure and insists on the need for new elections, aligning with legal and political protocols.

How has the community reacted to the situation?

The community, particularly the youth, has shown significant frustration, leading to the shutdown of the LG Secretariat and demands for immediate changes.

What are the legal implications of this dispute?

The legal battle will determine the future of the LGA chairmen’s tenure and set a precedent for handling similar conflicts in local governance, highlighting the complexities of local government law.

Ejes Gist News understands that the shutdown of the Asari Toru Local Government Secretariat by Rivers youths marks a critical point in the ongoing dispute over local government administration in the state. As the legal and political battles continue, the actions taken in the coming days will be crucial in shaping the future governance and stability of the region.

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