Suspected loyalists of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday stormed the Rivers State High Court in Port-Harcourt, killing at least two persons and destroying court property estimated in millions of naira.
The attackers breached the court security around 11 a.m. in violent bid to stop a judge from sitting on an interlocutory motion brought by a faction of the party in the state.
According to Premium Times, the injunction was sought by the faction said to be loyal to Magnus Abe, a serving APC senator from the state. Mr Abe’s faction has been sparring with the faction believed loyal to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transport and immediate-past governor of the state, for the control of the party’s political structure.
Mr Amaechi’s faction is said to be in favour of allowing the party congresses proceed as scheduled for Saturday. But Mr Abe’s group was against this arrangement and sought a court order to overturn it.
Preliminary hearing on the injunction was slated for Friday morning, and Mr Amaechi’s loyalists reportedly got wind of the proceeding and decided to take a protest to the court.
Properties worth millions were believed to have been destroyed in a fracas that ensued after hoodlums from both sides clashed at the court’s premises.
Pictures circulated in the aftermath of the attack showed damaged vehicles and buildings.
The violence, however, failed to stop Chiwendu Nworgu, the presiding judge, from granting the injunction forbidding the congress from holding tomorrow.
GOVERNOR WIKE’S RESPONSE
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the devastating attack on Rivers State Judiciary on Friday is an attempt by the Police and the All Progressive Congress (APC ) to overthrow the Rivers State Govt.
The governor spoke on Friday after he inspected the Rivers State High Court Complex destroyed by the Police and supporters of the APC from the faction of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The APC and Police damaged several courtrooms, ransacked the court library , destroyed vehicles and looted shops . Hundreds of expended bullets littered the High Court Complex. Governor Wike said it is unfortunate that the Nigeria Police connived with leaders of the APC to close the courts and stop it from dispensing justice to Rivers people.
“This is very unfortunate. Do not trivialize this invasion by saying it is just an attack by the APC on the judiciary. This is a complete coup by the Nigerian Police and the APC to overthrow the Rivers State Government. “We have said it before and we have been vindicated by this callous joint invasion of the Rivers State Judiciary”. He regretted that the Rivers State Police Commissioner decided to copy the Inspector General of Police in the exhibition of recklessness and lawlessness against an arm of Government carrying out its lawful duty. “We cannot continue to rely on the police to defend us. We must all stand up to defend democracy. What has happened is a sign of what APC and Police have planned. “APC Federal Government is not prepared for election. Therefore, they want to truncate the nation’s democracy. They are fomenting trouble to create an avenue for the military to take over. “The APC Federal Government sponsored Senator Omo-Agege at the Federal High Court. Nobody invaded the court. This action by the Police and APC is not acceptable”, he said.