The crisis rocking the River state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a new turn on Friday as lawyers, judges and litigants were chased out of a high court in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The group headed by Magnus Abe, senator representing Rivers south east, had gone to the court to seek an injunction restraining the faction under Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, from holding local government congress of the party on Saturday.
Abe had alleged that there was no congress across the 319 wards in the state but Amaechi said the exercise held peacefully.
Last week, one person was killed after supporters of the APC leaders clashed at the party secretariat in Port Harcourt.
Abe supporters had accused Amaechi of hijacking the process and preventing those loyal to the senator from purchasing forms required for contesting the ward election.
Abe had called on the leadership of the party to intervene in the crisis.
But the battle moved to the court on Friday as suspected thugs broke into the premises, vandalising vehicles, chasing away the judges, lawyers and preventing the court from siting.
Before leaving the intruders locked up the main gate of the court.
Hours after the disorderliness, Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, stormed the court with some of his supporters.
The supporters of the governor broke the locked doors as they went round inspecting the havoc wreaked by the suspects.
On Thursday, Chris Finebone, spokesman of the APC in Rivers, issued a statement, saying there was an attempt to use the court to stop the local government congress scheduled for Saturday.
“Information reaching us indicates that some individuals posing as members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers state have approached a Rivers state high court to seek injunction against the holding of local government and subsequent Congresses in Rivers state,” the statement read.
“It has also come to our notice that the same impostors have procured a lawyer to represent the APC in the phoney matter they surreptitiously brought before a court. By this notice, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rivers state chapter, is hereby notifying the Rivers state and federal judiciaries and the general public that at no time was the APC served any court process and at no time did the APC secure the services of any counsel to handle such a matter in any court.
“The attempt at claiming a non-existing court matter and the alleged appearance of a counsel on behalf of the APC with briefing by the party is manifestly false, criminal and should be disregarded and such persons arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“The APC re-iterates that any court or persons dealing with any such unauthorised person(s) do so at their own risk as the Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has neither been served any court process nor briefed any lawyer to deal on any such matter on the party’s behalf whatsoever.”