ABUJA – The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), yesterday, threatened to paralyze all economic activities in the nation political capital, if the Federal Government fails to address the current imbroglio in the Rivers State.
NANS, who gave 14 days ultimatum to the government to find lasting solution to the unrest, also berated the Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patient Jonathan and the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike for their roles in the crisis rocking the State.
The Union, who did not exonerate the Presidency from the matter called on President Goodluck Jonathan, to call them to order to stop interfering in the running of the administration of the state.
NANS noted that “it is not acceptable for the 5 legislators in the Rivers State House of Assembly to override the collective will of 27 members. It is totally wrong! We demand that the five legislators, who were responsible for igniting the crisis, be properly sanctioned and trimmed to size”.
A statement signed by the Acting Senate President of NANS, Comrade John Shima, demanded for adequate security in the state House of Assembly, while calling for “the immediate redeployment of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, who from every indication has gone political”.
The union said that, it restrained its self initially to comment on the matter, on the ground that all the parties involved were indigenes of the state, “but after the fracas at the Rivers State House of Assembly on 9th July, 2013 and the fallouts from it, we see the need to expeditiously intervene in the matter, as it has set a very bad precedence for our much cherished democracy and is even capable of plunging the entire nation, not only Rivers State into anarchy.
“In line with the foregoing, we wish to state unequivocally and in the strongest of terms, that the blatant arrogation of legislative powers by a relative minority of five (5) legislators in the Rivers State House of Assembly, against the majority of twenty seven (27) legislators, is in itself a huge aberration and the height of legislative rascality! The action of the five legislators is an open invitation to anarchy.
“Furthermore, Mr. President must stop distancing himself from the matter, because whether he likes it or not, he is vicariously involved in it. The directly involvement of the First Lady in the matter, which she publicly admitted to when sixteen (16) Bishops from the South-South paid her a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa last week, implies Mr. President’s tacit involvement in it. Therefore, Mr. President cannot continue to feign ignorance or indifference on this very sensitive matter.
“We must bear in mind that the situation in Rivers State depicts a huge threat to the security of the state and by extrapolation, the entire nation. The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has since made public, his own feelings of insecurity. There were reports last week of the deployment of policemen to the Rivers State Government House and the Rivers State Liaison Office in Abuja respectively, without the knowledge and approval of the State Governor. That action by the police authorities is highly condemnable.
“Mr. President should not forget that his cardinal responsibility to the state and its citizens is the provision of security for human lives and properties. This includes the lives of state governors and other high-profile individuals. Governor Amaechi has publicly declared that he is not comfortable with the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. We wonder why the Inspector General of Police is reluctant to redeploy Mr. Mbu from the state. Mbu clearly gave clue in an interview with a national television station that he works at cross-purposes with Governor Amaechi.
“We recall that Amaechi first notified Mbu of the crisis at the Rivers State House of Assembly, long before it degenerated. But rather than take proactive actions in line with the governor’s notice, Mr. Mbu, who was said to be living very close to the Rivers State House of Assembly, deliberately refrained from acting on the governor’s information. The Rivers State Commissioner of Police is answerable to the Inspector General of Police, who is in turn, answerable to Mr. President. Therefore Mr. President’s thumbprint is firmly embedded in the ongoing crisis in Rivers State.
“Therefore we wish to condemn in strong terms, the attack by sponsored miscreants on the convoy of Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the four northern governors that paid him a visit last week. We view the action of those miscreants as dastardly and uncivilized. However, we must remind their sponsors that anyone who rides on the back of a tiger would end up in its belly! If the convoy of governors can be attacked publicly with such impunity, then even the convoy of Mr. President may not be insulated from such attack!
“NANS is of the view that the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who is clearly acting the script of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, should call himself to order immediately! He seeks the reinstatement of the Chairman of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, who was earlier sacked by Governor Amaechi.
“Nigeria is operating a federal system, in which every federating unit is expected to operate within the ambits of its constitutional powers. The issue of Local Governments falls within the purview of the relevant state governments.
“Dame Patience Jonathan and Mr. Nyesom Wike should therefore hands-off the administration of Rivers State and allow Governor Amaechi to perform his constitutional obligations. If they wish to wrestle power from Amaechi, they should do so by the instrumentality of the ballot or other democratic instruments, not to resort to lawlessness in order to make Rivers ungovernable for Amaechi.
“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan should know that the patience of the average Nigerian is already far-stretched. With the tension in the polity caused by the state of insecurity among other frustrating issues, the nation may well be sitting on a keg of gunpowder! This situation should not be aggravated by allowing lawlessness to permeate the polity. The Rivers State crisis therefore calls for decisive action on the part of Mr. President.
“NANS hereby declares a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government of Nigeria and all its relevant organs, to resolve the crisis in Rivers State. Failure to heed this ultimatum, NANS shall be left with no option than to convene its next Senate Meeting at Port Harcourt, where it shall take a more decisive position and line of action on the Rivers State crisis.
“For the benefit of foresight, the line of action may include taking over the city of Abuja and paralyzing all economic, social and political activities in the nation’s capital. Enough is enough”!