The Rivers State Government has lifted the night curfew which has been in force for several weeks through out the entire State.
Governor Nyesom Wike announced the government position Tuesday, saying the order would take effect from Wednesday.
Government’s decision came after the Governor on Monday night came face to face with widespread public anguish, anger and frustration as the security details attached to him struggled to clear the way for his convoy along Ada George Road.
The APC reacted to the situation by withdrawing a statement which was to be released to journalists in Port Harcourt Tuesday night.
In it, the APC had urged the State Governor to lift the curfew, stressing that the circumstances which warranted the restrictions placed on night movements no longer exist.
The statement by APC’s Spokesman, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke made available to the Port Harcourt Telegraph before it was put on hold read in part:
“The Rivers people and all who are resident in the State are gasping for air. They cannot breathe. They are choking. They are choking under a democratic arrangement that hasn’t done enough to listen to their concern.
“In the day, they are locked down,” with most access routes blocked. They are locked down during the evening rush hour when the pressure mounts. In the night, they are held up for hours in chaotic traffic jams as the struggle to get off the road, and to get home ahead of the curfew intensifies.
“We are certain that the Governor whose convoy stormed through a horrifying traffic jam Monday night along Ada George Road witnessed the suffering; and the peoples anguish on our roads.
“We are sure that the Governor would have heard that up to 11pm on Monday night, Garrison Junction was under seige from heavy traffic.
“He would have learnt that the whole of Ogbu na’ Abali and Amadi Flats were similarly brought to a standstill.
‘It is time to release the choke hold. Time to make the burden lighter Your Excellency. It is also time to reappraise the entire objective of the curfew imposed on the State capital and its environs in the interest of the people.
“We understand the need on which the decision of the government was premised, but we do not believe after several weeks that the circumstances which warranted the imposition of the curfew still exist. We shall volunteer three reasons why we think so.
“1. Nnamdi Kanu who placed a bounty on the head of the Governor of Rivers State has been arrested by the country’s central government. It is thus necessary to assume that the threat posed by IPOB has been largely degraded.
“2. The Police and other security agencies have stepped up their operations. They are working round the clock to ensure that we are kept safe and we commend them
“3. Businesses as well as the contributions of individuals and other institutions engaged in economic activity drive the economy. The economy of the Rivers State is indeed sustained by their toil. They deserve to be encouraged to create wealth and provide goods and services.
“Against this backdrop, we urge the State Governor to lift the curfew. Lifting the curfew would be in the best interest of the Rivers people.
“The use of the curfew as a containment strategy is not popular across the country. It has not been popular as an enduring security strategy in neighbouring states where visible threats of insurgency have been higher.
“Yet the fight against insecurity, insurrection and terrorism is going on while people are free to go about their normal business.”
Most people across the State are in a jubilant mood, following the withdrawal by government of the curfew it imposed.
There are widespread expectations that the crushing traffic jams which have held the people hostage would gradually ease off as life returns to normal.
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