By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Security operatives, Monday, stopped a fuel subsidy removal protest by Civil Liberties Organisation in Bayelsa State from holding on the streets of Yenagoa the Bayelsa State capital over fear that it could spiral into violence.
The rally, billed to have commence at 7:00 am at the Opolo junction, in the heart of the capital city and terminate at the Ovom Government House, it was learnt failed to hold as the police authorities after agreeing to the protest later kicked against it over alleged security report that it could be hijacked by hoodlums to breach the existing peace in the state.
Armed policemen backed by armoured personnel carrier were deployed to the Opolo axis, the supposed take off point of the protest rally, which was dramatically shunned by residents.
The development however prompted the civil society groups’ leaders to change tactics and converged at the Nigeria Union of Journalists secretariat along Azikoro road, Ekeki where they addressed the press on the raging fuel subsidy removal saga and need for the Federal Goovernment to revert to old regime.
Indication that the proposed street rally was doomed to fail emerged Sunday at the end of the joint meeting of the NLC and TUC where both agreed not to embark on street protest and demonstration in order to avoid the hijacking of the proces by miscreants due to security situation in the Niger Delta in general and Bayelsa in particular.
The council in session however resolved to carry out the mandate of its national secretariats directive to close down all offices, filling stations, markets, the transport sector and stores.
Aside the government offices, filling stations and banks that were shut down for businesses, the transport sector and store owners defied labour stay at home directive and went about their normal activities with the result that there was increase in the volume of traffic on the roads as against the last couple of days when most of the roads were deserted.
Commercial vehicle operators and Okada riders were going about their normal businesses while shops were open to customers.
Civil societies groups relocate to NUJ secretariat
Addressing a news conference at the NUJ secretariat, the civil society groups in the state led by the Vice Chairman Bayelsa chapter of CLO, Engr. Williams-Odonmini Flint said they were forced to retreat to the council premises because the police refused them to go ahead with the protest.
Armed with placards some of which reads, “Repair our refineries and stop corruption in the oil industry”, “Let’s practice true federalism, subsidy must go”, “Why rush in removal of fuel subsidy, what about Petroleum Industry Bill?”, the civil society groups noted with sadness that communities in the creek of Niger Delta were not taken into consideration in the Federal Government palliative scheme.”