By Onozure Dania
Thousands of angry youths in Bayelsa State, yesterday, staged a demonstration in support of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over the arrest and detention of Mr. George Turner, former Special Adviser to esrstwhile Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The Youths, under the aegis of the Concerned Citizens of Bayelsa State and led by their coordinators, Chief Harrow Zuokomor and Abule Bethel, said though the state was still in shock at the magnitude of seized fund and projects it was meant for in some parts of the state, the protest was to commend the EFCC and ask the anti-graft agency to return the seized fund to the state for development purposes.
The youths, armed with placards bearing inscriptions such as ‘We thank the EFCC for exposing corrupt persons,’ ‘Enemies of Niger Delta exposed,’ ‘Welldone EFCC,’ among others, said that the state was hungry for development, adding that the return of the fund to the state government will ensure proper and even development.
The protesters, who started the solidarity march from the Popular Ekeki Park to the deserted State House of Assembly and the headquarters of the state Police Command, noted that they had read and seen on the pages of the national dailies the monies allegedly diverted by George Turner and pleaded with the EFCC to consider returning the money to the state.
Chief Zuokomor, while submitting the group’s petition to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba for onward submission to the EFCC, noted with concern that the issue of corruption among political appointees from the state to national level had eaten deep into the fabrics of the state and has continued to impoverish the ordinary people of the state.
Addressing the demonstrators, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Amba promised to deliver their message to appropriate authorities.
It will be recalled that the 34 years old, George Turnah is facing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a 12-count charge of otaining money by false pretence, money laundering, and abuse of office amongst others.
Turnah, was arrested in Port Harcourt in March this year in connection with alleged possession of N2 billion suspected to be funds siphoned from the NDDC while serving there between 2012 and 2015.