Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has signed an Executive Order 21 that prohibits political parties from using public schools and other facilities for political rallies without the permission of the state Commissioner of Education.
Wike, in a statewide broadcast Friday evening, said any political party that intends to use public schools for campaigns will pay a non-refundable fees of N5m.
Governor Wike said the Order specifically prohibits the use of public-school buildings, structures and premises for political rallies without prior permission from the Commissioner of Education.
He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the use of public school buildings, structures and premises for political rallies is lawful only when there is compliance with the following conditions:
“(a) obtaining permission from the Commissioner of Education not less than two (2) weeks before the date of the rally; and (b) paying a non-refundable security fee of N5,000,000.00 (five million naira) only.”
The governor explained that the prohibitive Order was put in place as part of the government’s responsibility to protect and secure public school infrastructure from damage or destruction.
He said the measure would also prevent the disruption of effective learning activities in state schools as a result of political rallies.
“We have said it before that the law is no respecter of political parties or persons, irrespective of size, status or station.
“We, therefore, wish to reiterate our determination to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any political party or candidate who dares to break the rules by plotting, conniving, instigating or perpetrating any act or conduct that may trigger or contribute to triggering electoral violence and related incidents in the State during the campaigns and the general elections,” he added.
Governor Wike warned that any public school administrator who connives with political parties to violate rule would be sanctioned accordingly.
According to him , “The Commissioner of Education and the Local Government Chairmen have strict instructions to enforce the Executive Order 21 prohibiting the use of public school structures and premises for political rallies.
“Furthermore, owners should refrain from allowing their business premises, hotels, cafeteria, relaxation lounges or private homes from being used for unlawful political gatherings and other criminal acts by party thugs and other criminal elements, including cultists, as we will bring down or seal up any of such buildings, structures or premises without further notice.”
The Rivers State governor commended the security agencies for their sacrifice and successful effort in securing the peace and safeguarding lives and property in the State.
Governor Wike assured every resident that his administration would continue to provide requisite logistic support and encouragement to the security agencies to strengthen their capacity to operate effectively.
“We also enjoin members of the public to be vigilant and cooperate with the security agencies to deliver on their security duties to the State.”
He enjoined political parties and candidates to avoid acts or conduct that could incite political tension.
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