Laleye Dipo in Minna
There was mass protest in Minna, the Niger State capital, yesterday against the decision of the state House of Assembly asking the state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to dissolve the 25 local government areas of the state.
The police had to deploy hot water armoured carriers and heavily armed policemen to protect the assembly complex.
The councilorsâ€™ forum, which also planned a protest and were meeting at the Abdulsalami Abubakar Youth Centre closed to the assembly complex, were dispersed by policemen who threw teargas at them.
In the stampede that ensued, some of the councillors were injured as they scaled the fence to safety
The house of assembly on the other hand suspended plenary to avoid members being attacked.
A coalition of civil society groups, the State Joint Civil Right Societies of Nigeria, also joined the protest with its leaders asking the governor to â€œmaintain the status quoâ€ of planned dissolution of local government areas in the state.â€
Spokesman for the civil society groups, Mohammed Saidu Etsu, said: â€œThe assembly acted in bad faith as their action is borne out of malice because they are using the government institution to fight personal battle.â€
Etsu accused the state lawmakers of â€œleaving the issues and chasing the shadows,â€ insisting that the legislators should instead account for â€œthe money they have collected by way of constituency allowances in the last two yearsâ€ before going after innocent councillors.
The house of assembly last Tuesday advised the state governor to dissolve the 25 local government councils for their failure to operate according to the law establishing them.