- These are not the best of times for Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike
- The governor is facing heavy backlash over his decision to demolish two hotels in Rivers state amid the lockdown
- 25 Civil Society Organizations have described the governor's action as lawless and barbaric
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A total of 25 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have expressed outrage over the recent demolition of two hotels by Governor Nyesom Wike for flouting the lockdown directives of the Rivers state government.
The CSOs in a statement on Wednesday, May 13, described Governor Wike's action as “an act of impunity, assault on rule of law and setback to civilisation.”
The CSOs include notable civil rights movement like the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Socio-economic Rights Action Project, Legal Defence & Assistance Project, Democracy and Human Rights Network among others.
The groups decried “the reckless abuse of power by Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state and his consistent drift towards a full-blown dictatorship.”
“As lovers of democracy and believers in the rule of law, we are seriously concerned that Wike, who is a lawyer, could engage in such series of activities that blatantly subvert due process, undermine the rule of law and negate the norms of civilised and democratic practices.
“Wike, like a rampaging bull, has been engaging in one act of illegality after another in recent times ranging from the arbitrary arrest of pilots and oil workers to the closure of state boundaries, to the signing of an executive order authorizing the auction of all vehicles alleged to have violated his lockdown order and now, his most recent reckless act of illegal demolition of two hotels in Rivers state on Saturday, which he personally supervised,” the groups lamented.
While stating that citizens must comply with orders meant to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSOs, however, noted that two wrongs cannot make a right.
“A democratically elected governor should rise above arbitrariness and lawlessness. The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to own property and this right cannot be circumscribed without following the due process of law.
“The Rivers state governor has no legal right in law to confiscate or demolish the property of citizens by executive fiat.
“Wike should not be allowed to continue to violate the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We call on citizens of Rivers state to resist Wike's dictatorship. They should challenge him through civic and legal means,” the statement added.
The CSOs also called on the People's Democratic Party to speak up and condemn the governor's excesses “or else lose any moral ground to criticise or oppose any act of malfeasance by the ruling All Progressives Congress.”
Similarly, a foremost political economy analyst, Dr Uche Igwe, has described Governor Wike as a tyrant who must be resisted by the people of Rivers state.
In a statement sent to journalists on Tuesday, May 12, Dr Igwe described the governor as an election rigger who is behaving like a bull in a China shop.
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Nigerians divided over Wike’s demolition of hotels for flouting orders | Legit TV