By Emma Amaize, Emma Arubi, Akpokona Omafuaire
WARRI- THE oil city of Warri, neighboring Effurun ,Udu and environs in Delta State were shut down Monday following a mass protestby irate citizens protesting the removal of fuel subsidy by the FederalGovernment.
The protest, which was in compliance with thedirective of the organized labour and civil society was led by the Delta statecoordinator of the NLC/TUC and civil society group, Casely Omon-Irabor Esq.
The response was massive and total from what Vanguardwitnessed a position that was corroborated by the state coordinator of the Forumfor Justice and Human Rights Defence, FJHD, Oghenejabor Ikimi Esq.
As at 6.00 am, Omon-Irabor was already at thetake-off point of the mass protest in Warri, according to our findings tocoordinate the day’s event, while people started gathering at about 7.30 am.
The protest commenced in Warri some few minutes to 9.00 am at the old Warri Port gate withprayers and advice from the organizers to the protesters to be orderly.
The previous night, there was an unconfirmed report that Boko Haram suicide bombers andmembers with guns and machete had infiltrated the subsidy protests in Lagos,Abuja, Edo, Delta, Kaduna, Kwara and Rivers states to cause mayhem.
Labour leaders and citizens were urged to be watchout for infiltrators, but in Warri, there was a heavy presence of security agents,as the protesters marched from old Warri Port enroute Effurun roundabout toGovernment House Annex, along the NPA expressway.
There was total compliance as shops, markets,offices and banks were all locked up. The main market, Warri and Okere marketwere also closed.
Omon-Irabor addressed the public at Okere marketjunction, stating reasons for the mass protests by Nigerians and calling all citizensto reject the bad policy, no matter the inconvenience. He said the will of peoplewould certainly triumph over the dictates of the powerful few in Aso Villa.
He said the motion passed, Sunday, by the House ofRepresentatives calling on the Federal Government to suspend the about 120 percent increase in the price of fuel was an indication that even those ingovernment know that the decision was ill advised, adding that except the priceof petrol was reverted to the old price of N65, the protests would continue.
As at 11.51 am, the protesters have reached EnerhenJunction and in the words of Oghenejabor Ikimi, “It is a peaceful protest and ahuge success. I can tell you that there is total compliance. Warri and environswere shut down. The protest here is a massive one”.
“I urge the president to respect the views of Nigerians and their representatives in theHouse of Representatives by suspending the removal of subsidy on petrol beforedialoging with Nigerians on the way forward”, he asserted.
Some members of the Maritime Workers Union ofNigeria told Vanguard that security operatives, especially those of Joint TaskForce, JTF, the Navy and Police, whose offices are located inside the port premises,were allowed to go inside to carry out their security duties.
Motor-cyclists, popularly known as Okada ridersand bus drivers were allowed to do their normal transportation business.
The resumption date for secondary and primaryschool students in the state was shifted by a week by the authorities toappraise the mass protest, while government agencies like the NNPC andDESOPADEC, along the Warri-Sapele Road, Warri locked up for fear of theunknown.