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Thousands of protesters, suspected to be supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State, Tuesday , temporarily took over the State High Court and Rivers State House of Assembly complexes, demanding the swearing-in of two members of the House of Assembly, who were elected on the platform of the APC.
The lawmakers-elect, Hon. Victoria Nyeche, of PHALGA I, who go her victory at the appeal court and Hon. Andrew Anderson Miller, of Opobo/Nkoro Constituency were yet to take oath of office. It would be recalled that Justice Omereji of the state high court had issued an order restraining the House from swearing-in Nyeche, who is the only female lawmaker and the matter is still pending in court. However, Miller was said to be absent when others took oath of office after the March 19, 2016 rerun election that returned him elected.
Though Miller, who is a two-timer had been attending sittings, he is not yet recognised and therefore have not been able to make contributions on the floor of the House.
The placard-carrying protesters, who were made up of members of the APC and civil society organizations, such as Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) and the Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation (RIVLEAF), first match to the main gate of the State Judiciary complex along Station Road and later moved to the House of Assembly complex along Moscow Road to register their protest.
The protest, forced the Assembly to shelve its sitting, which was supposed to hold in the morning to an indefinite date, as the Nigerian Police moved in to ensure safety and security at the complex.
Some of the placards read: “We say no to compromised judiciary”, “Rivers State House of Assembly is a lawless place.”.
Addressing newsmen, the National Assistant Secretary of the APC, Hon. Oji Ngofa, who accused the state judiciary of being the legal caucus of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, wondered why a judge of a State High Court will overrule the ruling of the Court of Appeal.
Ngofa said: “We are here to demonstrate our disgust and to protest against the rascality of the Rivers State Judiciary. The Rivers State Judiciary has been made like the legal caucus of the PDP and judgments that have been given are so partisan. The judiciary is meant for everybody; the Judiciary shouldn’t have any party coloration. The Judiciary should dispense justice to everybody equally.”
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