At least four members of the Rivers State House of Assembly were Tuesday, injured in a fracas on the floor of the House.
At the end of the squabble, the group of five legislators opposed to the governor claimed to have removed Speaker Otelemaba Amachree. Their claim was, however, quickly repudiated by 23 members who flocked in support of the speaker.
Yesterday’s violent clash happened on the first day of sitting since the political upheaval in the state triggered by removal of the structures of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from Governor Amaechi about three months ago.
Computers and several valuables in the main chamber of the legislative complex were smashed in the morning violence that was witnessed by security agents who had mounted an unprecedented cordon within and outside the chambers.
The members had been recalled from an indefinite break by Speaker Amachree following a request by Governor Amaechi for an amendment to the 2013 budget of the state.
At about 10.30 a.m. as members sauntered in and engaged themselves in banters awaiting procession of the speaker, the leader of the House, Hon Chidi Lloyd offered a hand to the member representing Ogu-Bolo constituency, Hon Evans Bipi, a newly married member and relation of First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, whose wedding drew the First Lady to Port-Harcourt last month.
Llyod’s gesture of a handshake was rewarded with a slap on the face by Bipi and immediately, the whole house was engulfed in bedlam. In the melee, one of the other four members in the anti-Amaechi camp dashed for the tripod of a television camera and swung it round, hitting at opponents.
He was followed by another lawmaker who went for the mace and smashed it on the head of two lawmakers. The violence continued for some time with security men watching until Governor Amaechi rushed to the scene with his own entourage of security men from Government House who attempted to stop the fracas.
The fracas was caught on video. Watch below