Combined security operatives from the Army, Department of State Security Services, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and policemen on Monday clashed with protesting youths from Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State as the governorship campaign team of the incumbent Speaker of the State, Sheriff Oborevwori, took their mobilisation campaign to the locality.
The aggrieved Ogbe-Ijoh youths, under the auspices of Ijaw Youth Council and Ogbe-Ijoh Interest Defensive Forum, according to witnesses, had earlier in the day, staged a peaceful protest within the community to air their grievances over the prolonged boundary adjustment and continuous restriction of movement of Ogbe-Ijoh indigenes in the only Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh access road, upon the gubernatorial campaign visit of the Delta Speaker to the area.
The PUNCH gathered that as early as 7am, the angry Ijaw youths had mobilised themselves towards the political campaign arena with placards to express their pains as regards the prevailing communal crisis between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities.
The protesters were reportedly intercepted and halted by the combined security operatives and political thugs who “completely denied them access” to air their grievances before the visiting Speaker.
Sources close to the security operatives claimed that the Ijaw protesters were intercepted to avert a situation where they would physically embarrass the Speaker.
“The protesters were ambushed because it would not be fair for the governorship aspirant to be embarrassed being the first among other aspirants to visit the local government council since the commencement of political campaigns in the state”, one of the security operatives who sought anonymity said.
Another witness claimed that the Speaker knows nothing about the lingering crisis between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities; hence he should not be dragged into the communal war.
Spokespersons for the Ijaw protesting youths however insisted that they were protesting against injustice meted on the community under the present political administration since the past seven years.
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