On Friday, Bayelsa state youths, angered by governor Seriake Dickson’s alleged “deliberate starving the state of funds”, have staged a violent protest against his leadership in Yenagoa.
The protest started at about 6 a.m. at the Tombia-Etegwe roundabout, leaving travellers stranded and bringing commercial activities to a halt.
The majority of protesters were ex-militant leaders. Local police say they used “the excuse of low allocation from federal government” for staging the protest.
According to eyewitnesses, John Opotobo, an ex-militant from Southern Ijaw local government area was killed, while eight others sustained injuries in the course of armed confrontation with the police.
The Bayelsa Police Command, however, denied the death reports, saying they “only shot tear gas canisters”, not live cartridges, to disperse the crowd. They’ve also confirmed the arrest of six protesters.
Eris Paul, popularly known as “General Ogunboss”, who participated in the protest, said: “Aside from the numerous show of incompetence by the present administration, Dickson is trying to hijack the job meant for the oil bearing communities in the state. Most of the South-south states have signed the allocation of the surveillance contract, but Dickson is insisting that the job be awarded to a self-styled company known as Izon Ibe, a security outfit that we don’t know.
“Dickson should concentrate on the use of state allocation and internally generated revenue to advance the good of the state rather than hijack jobs coming to communities.”