By Ogenyi Ogenyi, Uyo
There was pandemonium yesterday in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital as aggrieved youths under the aegis of Niger Delta Advocacy Movement, NDAM, and Ibom Youth Council, IYC, embarked on a protest in Akwa Ibom demanding for 5 per cent share from the state’s 13% Oil Derivation Fund.
The angry youths drawn from some other Oil producing states of the Niger Delta were marching towards the State Government House along Wellington Bassey Way, when security operatives stopped them at the roundabout.
An eyewitness told newsmen that the police opened teargas to disperse while scores were injured as they scamper for safety.
Some residents of the area including Eka Street, Asutan Street and Udoh Street said when they heard gunshots and people running, seeking to take refuge in their houses and offices they were afraid while shops and offices were forced to lock out of fear.
“The protesting youths were many in number and the whole thing almost led to a stampede. They were at the Wellington Bassey Way roundabout leading to the government House when the police stopped them from proceeding to governnment House.” Another source said.
It was also observed that the two protesting groups numbering over 500 with one group clad in white and another clad in Black later converged at the popular Plaza roundabout by Ikot Ekpene Road where they continued their protest.
Security agents comprising Soldiers, Nigeria Security Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the Police personally led by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Olatoye Durosinmi were also strategically positioned at the Plaza area to ensure that the protest did not turn violent.
It was gathered that it took the professionalism of the JTF team hectic time to dislodge the group from the Wellington Bassey Way down to the Plaza roundabout, where they ventilated their grievances.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the leaders of the group who identified himself as Bassey James said: ” I am the Niger Delta Advocacy Movement Secretary. In collaboration with Ibom Youth Council we have come to take our right that we have lost for 16years.
“Akwa Ibom Youths have not been employed. We have suffered a lot. Our Youths have not been empowered. That is why we’ve come out en masse to make sure that the governor look into our matter.
“We are asking for 5 per cent out of the 13 per cent Oil derivation. And they have said they would call us for dialogue. But failure to do that we will take another step”
Responding to questions, state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, said, “well the truth of the matter is that they were addressed by the Commissioner of Police, and Commander two Brigade, and other sister agencies on the need to be peaceful.
“They were also addressed on Commissioner for Internal Security but they insisted that they have to access the governnment House, that is why a commensurate force was used to disperse them They have dispersed peacefully so there’s no need for anybody to worry or for confrontation”