1 killed, Many Injured As Bayelsa’s Ex-militants Protest Against Gov. Dickson

One person is confirmed dead, while eight others were injured in Friday’s protest by ex-militants in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital against Governor Henry Seriake Dickson over his alleged plans to hijack the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) surveillance contract for the state owned security outfit, Izon Ebi.

Ex-militant leaders from other Niger Delta states were said to have been beneficiaries of the NNPC surveillance contracts which were recently awarded to companies where they have interest.

The protest by the ex-militants, including some sympathetic groups started at about 6 a.m. at the Tombia-Etegwe roundabout.

However, anti-riot police deployed from the State Police Headquarters fired tear gas into the crowd of the youth leading to a feud between them and the police.

Checks indicate that nine vehicles were vandalized while business shops around the area were also affected.

It took the intervention of reinforcement from the Police headquarters and some officials of the Presidential Amnesty Office to calm frayed nerves, as they appealled to the ex-militants to allow peace to reign.

A witness said John Opotobo, an ex-militant from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the State, was killed.

An ex-militant leader, Eris Paul, popularly known as General Ogunboss, who participated in the protest, said the protest was staged due to the wrong policies of the present administration in the state and the plot by Governor Seriake Dickson to hijack a multibillion dollar NNPC pipeline surveillance contract to communities in the state.

According to Mr. Ogunboss,”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,” he said.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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