Fubara Urged Not to Demolish House of Assembly Quarters

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

National Assembly members from Rivers State and leaders across political party lines have called on the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to suspend any plan to pull down structures at the House of Assembly quarters located on Aba Road in Port Harcourt.

The call was made yesterday when the past andpresent members of the National Assembly, local government chairmen and opinion leaders paid a visit to the quarters to assess the condition of the buildings.

Their action followed the recent visit of the governor to the facility and planned move to renovate the estate, which currently houses the hallowed chamber of the Martins Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

Amaewhule told the leaders that there was a grand plot by the governor to bring down the structures the same way he ordered the demolition of House of Assembly Complex located on the Moscow Road to stop them from sitting.

He said the structures were in excellent condition, fully functional and were currently occupied by the lawmakers and their family members.

The Speaker condemned the manner the governor stormed the quarters aided by armed policemen, alleging that Fubara broke the gate and allowed others to scale the fence. Amaewhule said the lawmakers never invited the governor to come to the quarters, adding that the estate remained the property of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Addressing the elders, Amaewhule said: “Your visit is unusual. It shows that the good people of the state are concerned about what is happening. This facility belongs to the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“We have also brought in experts and engineers, and there is nothing wrong with these structures. They are fully in use and fully functional. All the experts confirmed to us that this building is one of the best in West Africa.

“This complex was constructed by the former Governor, Nyesom Wike, and inaugurated in August 2022 by the current Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila. We are happy with the building and everything is working well.”

Amaewhule, while showing the leaders the current legislative chamber at the complex insisted that the governor had no right to make any executive order directing lawmakers where to hold their sitting.

Citing the judgment of Omotosho, Amaewhule described governor’s actions as a flagrant violation of orders of the Federal High Court, none of which he said had been vacated.

The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, while stating the purpose of their visit, said they were worried about reports of another impending demolition of democratic institution and decided to assess the condition of the premises.

Chinda said before their visit, they had already engaged experts to assess the integrity of the structures at the complex and their report showed that they would last for more than 25 years.

He said: “Let me salute the Speaker and members of the House of Assembly. Some leaders of the state went to the USA to get the design the Assembly complex that was brought down. When it was built, it was the best state Assembly in this country. That structure is nowhere today.

“However, as members of the National Assembly from Rivers State, we have joined the leaders and elders of the state to discuss the issues happening in our state the latest being the threat to bring down the structures in this premises.

“We have on our own come out to physically inspect the structures to crosscheck it with the report we received and these structures are still strong and healthy. Our apartments in the National Assembly are not better than what we have seen here.

“We want to advise the governor to  bridle a little bit at exuberance that we had seen within this period. It doesn’t portend well to our state.”

In his remarks, the Rivers State Caretaker Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tony Okocha, commended the leaders and elders across party lines for defending democracy, saying it was a demonstration of the unity in the state.

Okocha said the 27 lawmakers remained members of the APC, adding that the party would continue to protect them.

He said at every twist and turn, the governor would always confess his support for President Bola Tinubu, but he alleged that Fubara did not vote for the president in the last election.

He said: “This goes to show the world that the Rivers people are united. We are one. The Speaker had taken us round the premises and had given us the synopsis of what transpired when the governor, in a Gestapo manner, came with thugs to harass the inhabitants here.”

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