UYOâ€”About 50Â Youths may have been arrested while carrying placards around major streets in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, protesting what they claimed as the wrongful detention of Senator John James Udoedeghe, governorship aspirant for the forth coming 2011 general elections.
The youths who were dispersed around NEPA Line Street, when the Police fired several gunshots into the air as they refused to heed the police advice to shun the protest and return to their homes, were said to be planning to reconvene, only to make sure hoodlums will not hijack the exercise to foment trouble.
The State Police Commissioner, Walter Rugbere, confirmed to newsmen that some unspecific number of arrests had been made in connection with the protest on grounds of unlawful assembly and that those arrested are to be arraigned in court for a breach of peace the following day.
Police Commissioner Rugbere reacting to the situation said, “This morning I had a phone call that some youths were trying to foment trouble and I told my men to stop the placard-carrying protesters, because I have said, if you want to demonstrate, you must get police clearance and all those arrested will be prosecuted tomorrow.”
On why armed police men had been deployed to take over the campaign office of the governorship hopeful at No. 32 Udo Otung Ubo Street, the police boss explained that his men were drafted to the place to ensure the youths did not reassemble to continue with their protest.
But contrary to the claim by the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Thomas Akpan, Media Coordinator for the Campaign Organization, said they had applied for police clearance but that they were denied the clearance by the police.
Akpan said the reason for their embarking on the peaceful demonstration was to protest that the former Senator was being detained for nothing by the Inspector General of Police who he accused visited the State two days after the killing of the Peoples Democratic Party chieftain Mr. Paul Inyang who was murdered in Ebenezer African Church in Mbierebe Akpawat, Ibesikpo Local Government Area by some gunmen.
Whereas the State Governor had said that the murdered politician was his personal friend and supporter, swearing never to rest until the killers are brought to book, Akpan in a telephone interview told Vanguard that the deceased was no longer a supporter of Chief Godswill Akpabio and that he was to accompany former governor Attah to Udoedegheâ€™s campaign office Monday preceding his bloody assassination.
He however vowed to go to court to secure the release of all those arrested by the police while on the peaceful demonstration since according to him these were the bread winners of the various families.