Over ten thousand Ogonis today, Wednesday January 15, 2014, converged on Bori, which doubles as the Headquarters of the Ogoni Ethnic Nationality and Rivers South-East Senatorial District, protesting what they described as a deceit and distortion of facts in the Sunday, January 12, 2014 incident in Port Harcourt, during which Senator Magnus Abe alleged he was shot by the Police.
The protesters, who were organized under the aegis of the Ogoni Youth Movement, and Federation of Ogoni Youth Leaders Association, drew participants from the various communities of the four Local Government Areas of Eleme, Gokana, Khana, and Tai with prominent and resourceful youth heads in the areas leading the peaceful procession.
The protest march which commenced from the Senatorial District office along Hospital road in Bori operated by the serving Senator, was led through major streets in the metropolitan city with a brief stopover at the main Park and Market junctions, and later terminated at the Police Area Command, Bori where the youths made their positions known to officers and men of the Nigeria Police and other security agents present.
Some of the placards carried by the protesters had the inscription, “Abe is a Liar,” Magnus Abe was not shot by the Police,” “Ogoni for Goodluck Jonathan,” “Ogoni youths are in support of the Police,” “APC has no place in Ogoni,” “Magnus, show evidence of gun shots,” “Ogoni youths, Elders say Mbu must stay,” “Amaechi and Abe are collaborators in crime and lies,” “Ogonis are for Wike, PDP,” etc.
In their separate speeches at the Police Area Command in Bori, the Youth Leaders who led the procession called on the police, particularly the Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, not to be swayed by the lies and blackmail by Senator Abe and Governor Amaechi, assuring men and officers of the Police Force of the Ogoni people’s support and confidence.
The youths also assured the security agents of the continued corporation and sustenance of peace in parts of Ogoni, but warned the Police authorities to be alert to the manipulations and evil tendencies of those they described as enemies of Ogoni.
Also speaking, Comrade Sunny Bekanwa, National President, Ogoni Youth Movement, challenged Senator Magnus Abe to show to the World the wound sustained from the gun shot by the police, wondering why a whole Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will so demean himself to the extent of lying that he was shot at an event where no sound of gunshot was heard, apart from the canister of teargas used by the police to quell an already building up confrontation in the area.
While calling on all Nigerians and people of the world to discountenance the allegation by the Senator and the Rivers State Government, the youths appealed to the like of Abe to desist from blackmailing the police institution as well as playing politics with serious issues in their desperation for power.
Similarly, Comrade Israel Ngbuelo, another youth leader, informed the Police that those who protested along East West Road against them were not Ogoni youths but hoodlums hired from outside the area by some Rivers State Government officials in the Ogoni area.
The youths declared their total support for the Police, the Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party, led by Bro Felix Obuah, and President Goodluck Jonathan, giving the assurance that come 2015, all Ogoni votes will be delivered for Jonathan.
Representatives of each of the four Local Government Areas that participated in the protest march in Bori took time to address the crowd, all pointing out the fact that the people will not allow themselves to be fooled by the gimmick displayed by the Senator and that the Senatorial youths will no longer allow themselves be the ready prey in the hands of over desperate politicians like Abe and Amaechi.
The protest which was conducted in a most civilized manner ended peacefully without any incident of the breach of the peace, disagreement, looting, bashing of vehicles, obstruction of public or private businesses, and assault on persons or institutions as recorded Monday, January 12, 2014, when youths were purchased by some government officials to obstruct operations along the Ogoni axis of the East-West Road, and which later resulted in the destruction on Gokana Council Secretariat by same hired youths.
The successful protest was characterized with much enthusiasm demonstrated by not only the participants but residents and operators of businesses along the major streets and adjoining areas.
Comrade Sunny Bekanwa
Ogoni Youth Movement