There was commotion again in Rivers State as thousands of youths believed to be loyal to the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, on Tuesday, reportedly threw stones and other objects at the convoy of the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
Vehicles in the convoy were conveying four northern governors – Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) – who were on a solidarity visit to Amaechi.
A bus in which some commissioners in the state were seated in was said to have had its windscreen smashed by the protesters.
But the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Angela Agabe, said that, “there was no time the governors’ convoy was attacked.
Nothing like that (attack) happened,” she said, adding that adequate security was provided at the airport to forestall any unpleasant development.
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, who confirmed that a Government House bus was damaged by some youths described the incident as a ploy by anti-democratic forces to cause confusion in the state.
Semenitari said the development had the capacity of derailing the nation’s democracy.
The youths, who are mostly members of the Grassroots Development Initiative had expressed dissatisfaction over the visit of the governors, maintaining that they had no business being in the state.
Though some pro-Amaechi youths, who are members of Ikwerre Youth Movement were also on the ground to forestall any untoward development at the airport, their presence did not stop the anti-Amaechi protesters.
The anti-Amaechi protesters, who got wind of the planned visit of the northern governors, had stormed the Port Harcourt Airport at about 7am and waited until about 11.40am when the governors and their host arrived. Amaechi came in from Abuja.
Aliyu, who is also the chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, arrived at about an hour later to join others who had been waiting for him.
Trouble, however, began when the governors were about leaving the VIP lounge for a journey to the Government House in Port Harcourt. The anti-Amaechi protesters moved en masse to block the governors from moving further but were dispersed by an Armoured Personnel Carrier, which was part of Amaechi’s convoy.
At that point, the governors were able to enter a vehicle that immediately left the vicinity but some vehicles in the convoy were said to have been hit by stones and other objects thrown by the protesters.
One of Amaechi’s drivers, according to a source, was said to have received two punches on his face.
Reacting to the incident, the GDI Secretary-General, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, described the protest as peaceful and successful.