By Emma Amaize, Emma Arubi and Akpokona Omafuaire.
WARRI – THE protest against the removal of fuel subsidy expanded to Delta State, Friday, with members of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and Committee for Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, grounding business and social activities in the twin cities of Warri and Effurun for more than four hours.
The protest is coming ahead the planned nationwide industrial action on Monday by Organized Labour.
The placard- carrying protesters were led by John Aikpokpo-Martins, Vice Chairman Warri NBA; Barrister Casely Omon-Irabor, Coordinator, Human Rights Defenders Organisation of Nigeria.
Sunny Enenuvwedia, President, CDHR; Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, President, Network for Positive Change; and Barr Benefit Orugbo, Chairman, CDHR Delta State.
They hit the streets of Warri and Effurun as early as 7.00 am in their hundreds. The take-off point was Effurun roundabout.
Some of the placards bore inscriptions; “We want fuel subsidy” “Don’t play politics with our lives in Nigeria” “Okonjo Iweala should resign” “No to IMF policies” “Jonathan has failed us” “If Jonathan cannot rule, resign.”
Okada riders, market women and office workers who closed businesses and offices cheered the protesters as they chanted solidarity songs. Members of the various civil societies also joined in the protest as they march on.
In a proactive strategy, the Area Commander, ACP Abutu Yaro , led several police officers in providing escort for the protesters so that hoodlums would not take advantage to hijack the protest.
Addressing Deltans at Jakpa junction, John Aikpkpo-Martins, Vice Chairman, NBA, Warri said, “We members of the NBA protest today to say no to removal of fuel subsidy, we are fighting against oppression, this is not military rule, Okonjo-Iweala cannot dictate for us, she should resign, fuel price should be returned to N65.”
Also adding his voice, Sunny Enenuvwedia, President, CDHR said, “The president action is hasty. It is anti people, government should cut their bogus life style spending and there will be money for development.
“Why is it only the poor that must suffer? Enough of this rubbish, we want the decision to be rescinded immediately.”