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NIGERIA: Battered Rivers Lawmaker Recounts Ordeal

Battered Rivers Lawmaker Recounts OrdealMajority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, has recounted his ordeal in the hands of some lawmakers opposed to the state Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, who were accused of being behind the mayhem in the state legislature Tuesday.

There was free-for-all in the House of Assembly which had reconvened after months of suspending plenary to consider an amendment to the state’s 2013 budget.

He said the Assembly, having written to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph  Mbu, to provide security for the plenary, the lawmakers were happy when they arrived at the assembly to notice the presence of about 50 policemen, which they thought was in response to the request by the Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree.

He said: “We went in as members who have not seen ourselves for some time 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, maybe I didn’t greet him also. So he continued when that continued, the speaker intervened.

“Then he (Bipi) reached out for the tripod that stands the camera, used it freely on me. He and Michael Okechukwu Chinda, who later joined him in the attack, 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 had 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. Then 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.” Lloyd expressed concern over his safety and urged well-meaning Nigerians to intervene in the crisis in Rivers State before it leads to anarchy.

He said: “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 in Rivers State. This could lead to something that we cannot imagine.”

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