Rivers State House of Assembly Majority Leader, Hon. Chidi Lloyd
Warn against riotous assembly, provocative conduct
IG summons lawmaker, Amaechi’s ADC, CSO for interrogation
Lloyd: I’m not running from the law
By Ernest Chinwo and Yemi Akinsuyi
The Rivers State Police Command Wednesday declared the Rivers State House of Assembly Majority Leader, Hon. Hon. Chidi Lloyd, wanted for his involvement in last week’s fracas in the state legislature, which broke out following a clash between lawmakers loyal to and those against the state Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi.
The police, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said Lloyd was being wanted for attempted murder of a colleague, Hon. Michael Chinda, who represents Obio/Akpor constituency II.
Lloyd, in a video clip that went viral on the internet last week, was shown as he was hitting Chinda with the fake mace brought into the chambers by the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers to remove the Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree.
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has also summoned Lloyd along with the Aide de Camp (ADC) and the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor, Debeware Semeikumo, an acting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), and Tony Iwelu respectively, to explain their roles in the brawl that took place in the state assembly.
In addition, the Force Headquarters in a reaction to Tuesday’s disruption of four northern governors’ solidarity visit to Amaechi in Port Harcourt, cautioned Nigerians against turning the airports to protesting grounds and engaging in acts that could lead to a breach of the peace.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, in a statement yesterday by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Angela Agabe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said Lloyd was declared wanted having failed to honour invitations to appear before the command to explain his role in the fracas.
But the embattled lawmaker refuted the claim, saying the police were not being fair to him, as he had informed them of his health conditions, which made it impossible for him to honour the invitation.
The police explained that Lloyd was being investigated for allegedly beating Chinda with the ‘imported’ mace used in the attempt to remove the speaker last week.
According to the statement, “The Rivers State Police Command has declared wanted one Hon. Chidi Lloyd, a native of Emohua in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, about 37 years of age. He is the majority leader of Rivers State House of Assembly. He was involved in a case of conspiracy, attempted murder, wounding and wilful damage on the 9th of July 2013.”
It said the invitation to the lawmaker expired on Tuesday, adding that the last time he was seen was on the day of the fracas in the assembly and all efforts to trace him since then had proved abortive.
The statement added that the alleged crimes committed by Lloyd were being investigated by a special team from the IG in collaboration with the Rivers State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
It called on the public to aid the police with information that would assist them in the eradication of crime in the society.
However, in his reaction to the declaration by the police, Lloyd, who spoke through his counsel, Emenike Ebete, said he would challenge the notice on him at the court, noting that the police action was unfair and would not hold.
He expressed disappointment at the action of the police, which he said, made it look as if he was running from the law.
He explained that although he was aware of the police invitation to him, he could not honour it because of his health condition as he was still recuperating in a hospital following injuries he sustained in the fracas.
“They invited my client last week, but we have since told them of his condition in the hospital because he also sustained injuries just like the others as a result of the physical attack on him. Why will the police go ahead to declare him wanted after we had told them what the situation was? We are going to challenge this in court; this cannot hold,” Ebete said.
The Force Headquarters in a statement yesterday announcing the summoning of Lloyd and Amaechi’s security chiefs, said they were expected to report to the Force CID, Abuja for an interview in respect of their roles as seen in the video clips of the fracas.
The statement, signed by the force’s spokesperson, Frank Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), added that their interrogation would enable the police to obtain further details that would assist in proper investigation into the incident.
A source told THISDAY that the three persons were expected to report at the Force Headquarters within the week.
The IG, in the statement, also urged police personnel on various legitimate assignments, particularly those attached to dignitaries, to always remain mindful of their conduct and ensure that they uphold the professional ethics, tradition and best practices of the force at all times.
The Force Headquarters in another statement yesterday, warned Nigerians against unlawful assembly.
The warning came against the backdrop of the attack on Tuesday on the convoy of Amaechi in which there were also four northern governors who were in the state on a solidarity visit to their beleaguered colleague.
Protesters, who are supporters of the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, had converged on the Port Harcourt International Airport, to protest the visit of the governors— Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger). Wike is the leader of the anti-Amaechi forces in Rivers State.
The statement by Mba expressed dismay at the attitudes of some Nigerians who have turned the nation’s airports to protesting grounds.
“These assemblies do not only constitute nuisance to the airport’s environment but are also threat to the security of both genuine travellers and the airport authority. Citizens are reminded that airports all over the world are regarded as ‘restricted areas’ and as such are traditionally shielded from unnecessary intrusion.
“The force will not hesitate from the date of this statement, to bring the full weight of extant laws on persons found forming or being part of an unlawful assembly, especially riotous assemblies,” the statement added.
It said the police were aware of the fundamental rights of citizens, particularly their rights to “freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement” among others, as provided for in chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); and were duty bound to respect and protect them.
It however reminded citizens that these rights and freedom must be enjoyed within the bounds of the law.
“Therefore, all assemblies must be peaceful, lawful and must not be intentionally contrived to provoke or abridge the rights of other citizens. The force will not fold its arms and watch some persons or group of persons tear down the bond of the country’s unity. The force wishes to remind Nigerians that the laws on unlawful and riotous assembly as provided for in our criminal and penal laws are still in force”, it stated.
The police further cautioned against unnecessary use of unguarded, inflammatory and provocative statements capable of promoting hatred and disunity among Nigerians, adding that citizens should at all times, in the exercise of their rights, be cautious of the likely consequences of their actions and avoid acts inimical to the well-being of the nation.
“The Nigeria Police Force has a constitutional responsibility of ensuring not just the security of citizens, but to promote the unity and indivisibility of our dear country. It will therefore do all within its ability to ensure that the country remains secure, peaceful and indivisible. Nigerians of all facets of life are advised to close ranks and unite to sustain the nation’s nascent and growing democracy.
“The force enjoins citizens to shun all forms of violence and unlawful acts, eschew bitterness, hatred and rancour and go about their legitimate duties without fear of intimidation from any quarter,” the statement added.