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APC to block budget until "rule of law" restored

26 January 2014, 07:24

Abuja - The All Progressives Congress (APC) will block the passage of this year's budget until what it described as lawlessness is ended in Rivers state.

The APC also said it would block the confirmation of twelve new ministers and four military chiefs President Goodluck Jonathan appointed this month.

Politics has become increasingly heated in the country since four opposition parties merged last February into the APC. Five state governors and dozens of lawmakers defected from the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) late last year.

Political wrangling is expected to continue until elections next year and could damage the economy, at a time when oil savings are dwindling and the naira, which has been largely stable, is under pressure.

"The APC hereby directs its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals, including the 2014 Budget ... until the rule of law and constitutionalism is restored in Rivers State," an APC statement said.

PDP Spokesman Olisa Metuh responded by accusing the APC of a "devilish plot to undermine the nation's security system ... (and) cripple the nation's economy".

The APC poses the greatest challenge to Jonathan and the PDP since it swept to power in 1999, ending years of military rule.

Most of the defecting state governors were from the mostly-Muslim north, but Governor Rotimi Amaechi from Rivers state also crossed the divide.

His bitter rivalry with Jonathan and a spat last year with the president's wife has led to several incidents of unrest in a state which produces more crude oil than any other. Security experts do not expect any immediate impact on oil production.

The APC say that one of its senators, Magnus Abe, was shot by the police at a pro-Amaechi rally this month, although the police deny any shots were fired when they broke up the crowd for safety reasons. Local newspapers have shown pictures of Abe being treated in a hospital in London.

The opposition also said Amaechi is harassed by the federally-controlled police and his supporters are being arrested. The police and PDP deny the allegations.

- Reuters


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