EndSARS: Security beef up around banks amidst threat of renewed protest in Bayelsa

Business outlets shut down

IYC condemn Lekki Tollgate killings

EndSARS: Security beef up around banks amidst threat of renewed protest in Bayelsa

By Samuel Oyadongha – Yenagoa

Amidst the threat of the resumption of #EndSARS protest in Yenagoa, security was reinforced around banks in the state capital.

Also, some business outlets, especially supermarkets were temporarily shut down in the early hours of the day (Thursday).

Vanguard learned that the move was a preemptive measure following the threats of resumption of protest by youths in response to the killings of EndSARS protesters in Lagos.

The #EndSARS Yenagoa protesters had on Wednesday night announced the resumption of protest on Thursday and called on fellow protesters to the assembly at the Government House gate by 9 am.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Young lawmakers want House of Reps to reconvene over Lagos killings

“We therefore call on Bayelsans to turn out en mass prepared for a Peaceful Protest as all forms of unruly behaviours that are against the spirit of the #EndSARS Protest shall not be tolerated,” the statement added.

But another public notice was issued with the claim that some persons had planned to hijack the protest and unleash mayhem on the state capital, “The news is flying everywhere that some persons are plotting to hijack the #EndSARS protest scheduled for tomorrow in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

“This is to notify the security agents to be on red alert against the hoodlums allegedly being mobilised to cause mayhem in parts of the state capital. Bayelsa State needs peace at this time and not war.

“Those allegedly plotting the mayhem are known enemies of the state and would be held accountable for any breakdown of law and order in course of the protest. We call on #EndSARS protesters to be vigilante and conduct themselves peacefully as always.”

Governor Douye Diri had on Wednesday night doused tension through his statewide radio broadcast announcing the constitution of a judicial panel of inquiry as well as a special security and human rights committee in the state.

The governor said the judicial panel and security and human rights committee was constituted in response to the yearnings of the youths as articulated in the demands of the EndSARS protesters.

His words, “Bayelsa State government has decided to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate police brutality and allegations of human rights abuses and equally set up the special security and human rights committee to supervise and monitor the new tactical unit of the police Strategic Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) squad in the state.

“The judicial panel of inquiry which has six months to complete its assignment is headed by Retired Justice Y.B. Ogola with Barr. Alaowei Opokuma as Secretary.

Others are A.T. Ambaowei, Mr Fortune Alfred Godson, Miss Perelade Demanche both representing civil society and Russell Newman representing the National Human Rights Commission.

Its terms of reference include “to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and or related extra-judicial killing in Bayelsa State; evaluate evidence, draw conclusions and make findings on the validity of the complaints; and to recommend compensation and other remedial measures.”

The committee on Special Security and Human Rights is headed by Governor Diri with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo, as Secretary.

Other members are the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mike Okoli, the State Director of State Security Services, Mr. A.A. Mahmoud, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security 1, Mr. Akpoebi Agberebi, Special Adviser on Security 2, Mr. Felix Ngobiowei and Barr. Alaowei Opokuma.

Mr. Eugene Baadom and Dr. Mathew Ayibakuro represent the National Human Rights Commission and the #EndSARS protesters respectively.

The committee’s terms of reference are to supervise and monitor the SWAT unit and ensure that the rights of Bayelsans and residents are protected.

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has joined other well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to condemn in its entirety the killing of defenseless citizens of Nigeria who are on the streets protesting against police brutality and bad governance in the country.

READ ALSO: 10 takeaways from Sanwo-Olu’s interview on Lekki Tollgate crisis

In a statement in Yenagoa, the IYC through its Spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, described the killing of innocent ENDSARS protesters by the security forces as barbaric and callous adding that the perpetrators should be brought to book.

The IYC noted that the government should as a matter of urgency, set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate and ascertain what must have led to the killings and bring the culprits to justice.

The apex Ijaw youth body lauded the bravery of the Nigerian youths who are protesting in the sun and in the rain against police brutality and bad governance in the country and described them, especially those who have paid the supreme price in the Lekki toll gate shootings as the “falling heroes of the struggle” whose spirits will not rest until a new Nigeria is birthed.

The IYC frowned at the “not too concerned” approach exhibited by the government which has escalated the crisis and urged them to take practical steps to douse tension in the country.

It added: “We call on ECOWAS, AU, the UN, and the international community to keep a tab on the happenings in Nigeria and take appropriate actions to put the government on the check as there are disturbing reports of state-sponsored human rights violations currently going on silently in some satellite towns in parts of Abuja.

“To us in the IYC, what will put a finality to this uprising is a restructured Nigeria where every region will control its resources and pay taxes to the centre.”


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