“Everybody is in shock”, – Defected lawmakers react to demolition of Rivers assembly building

The 27 lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have said there were all shocked at the demolition of the legislative building.

The lawmakers, loyal to Nyesom Wike, a former governor and current minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), defected to the APC after their sitting on Monday, citing division in the PDP.

The feud that has now factionalised the state lawmakers began late October after a failed attempt to impeach Governor Simi Fubara who fell out with his predecessor Mr Wike.

On Tuesday, a high court in the state ordered the faction loyal to the former governor to stop parading themselves as state lawmakers, authenticating the 5-member assembly led by Edison Ehie.

On Wednesday morning, bulldozers arrived the assembly complex, demolishing the structure which experts reportedly claimed was no longer habitable due to the fire outbreak that damaged parts of the building.

While the demolition was ongoing, Governor Fubara was at the state government house presenting the 2024 appropriation bill to the 5-member assembly loyal to him.

Reacting, the Pro-Wike lawmakers, speaking through its spokesperson, George Alabo, said they were shocked at the developments, particularly the destructions.

Mr Alabo, whose seat alongside those of his colleague-defectors have been declared vacant, vowed to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the Tuesday court order by Justice Monina Danagogo which according to them was “fraudulent.”

“In the coming days, we will be meeting, everybody is in shock, everybody is overwhelmed so we haven’t taken a decision yet,” he told Channels TV. “What I know is that we are dispatching our petition to the NJC about the fraudulent court order issued by justice Danagogo.

“It is sad but we are not worried, we are unbothered but what has happened is a rape on the history, history has just been murdered but it is fine, we will not be deterred.

“We woke up this morning and we were told that the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex which has housed the activities of the House of Assembly for many years is being brought down alongside all our documents, alongside all our archives, alongside, alongside all our belongings, alongside the entire records of the Rivers State House of Assembly to date, everything is being brought down.

“No notice, no warning, people on ground were kicked away, there was no opportunity to rescue anything. The history of the house of assembly from inception has just been brought down, that is what we are talking about now.

“Our archives, our legislative department, our legal department, our library, all our records, the entire history of the house of assembly has just been brought down in one fell swoop, that is the sorry state we have found ourselves.”