Thugs invade Rivers council, assault legislative leader
Suspected thugs, yesterday invaded the complex of Etche Local Government Area in Rivers State and unleashed mayhem on Mrs. Cynthia Nwala, the leader of the council’s legislative Assembly.
The Guardian gathered that Mrs. Nwala narrowly escaped death as her clothes were torn by the thugs.
It was learnt that friction among the legislators erupted into a conflict, which resulted in divisions, thereby prompting the leader to seize the Assembly mace with intention of going home with it.
However, following a tip-off, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the Council, whose name was simply given as Mr. Sup mobilised and led some groups of armed thugs to barricade the exit gate of the council to prevent Mrs. Nwala from leaving the council complex with the mace.
The Guardian learnt that, in an attempt to retrieve the mace, the CSO and his men allegedly beat up the leader, tore her clothes and vandalised her car.
It was further learnt that the suspected hoodlums, who invaded the council with bottles and matches allegedly acted on the order of the chairman of the local council, Obinna Anyanwu.
An eyewitness, who craved anonymity, confirmed to newsmen that the CSO of the council led the thugs to perpetrate the dastardly act.
The source said: “Her sin was that she took the mace of the assembly with her before the gate to the council was locked and she was allegedly beaten by CSO and his cohorts. It is barbaric that a woman would be stripped naked.”
Meanwhile, Nwala has confirmed that she was attacked by the CSO of the council together with some men because she wanted to safeguard the mace, following an ongoing fracas in the assembly and renovation work at the council.
When contacted, the Chairman of the Council, Anyanwu, denied sending the CSO for the attack.
He said: “That is not true, I never sent anyone to attack her. What happened was that after screening of the supervisory councillors yesterday, she wanted to cart away the mace and she started having friction with other colleagues and the CSO made attempt to retrieve the mace from her.”
Also, Anyanwu in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Robinson Oluor, explained that disagreement emanated between the lawmakers and that the leader of the house attempted to move away with the assembly’s mace before she was intercepted.
The statement reads in part: “For the record, Obinna Anyanwu never directed his CSO to harass, intimidate or assault any serving councillor of Etche Legislative Assembly.
“The Chief Security Officer to the Council chairman is not a member of Etche Legislative Assembly and will never be part of the internal issues of the Etche Legislative Assembly.
“It is also important to clearly state that the CSO to the Council Chairman never attacked or harassed the leader of the House; as he is not one of the councilors. Also, Etche Local Government Council leadership has much respect for the Etche Legislative Assembly.
“The information made available to the Council has it that the leader of the House, Hon. Cynthia Nwala with the assistance of a team of armed policemen and over 20 armed thugs she hired, made a forceful attempt to take the ‘mace’ which is a legislative property and by the administrative procedure, it is meant to be under the custody of the ‘sergeant-at-arms’.
“Some members of the Assembly, who intercepted their house leader with the ‘mace’, alerted the Chief Security Officer to the Council, who was present in Okehi and he quickly intervened and restored sanity between Cynthia Nwala and her fellow councillors.”