The threats of resumption of the End SARS protest by youths and activists in Bayelsa State in response to the killings at the toll gate in Lekki Area of Lagos State has thrown the Bayelsa State capital into a panic with businesses, Courts and banks temporarily shut down to avoid being targeted for looting and attacks.
DAILY POST gathered that some police Divisional headquarters evacuated arms and ammunitions in its armoury for safekeeping at the State Police headquarters.
The End SARS protesters in Yenagoa had on Wednesday night circulated a notice of resumption of protest on Thursday and called on fellow protesters to assemble at the Government House gate by 9am.
The notice read thus “We, therefore, call on Bayelsans to turn out en mass prepared for a PEACEFUL PROTEST as all forms of unruly behaviours that are against the spirit of the #EndSARS Protest shall not be tolerated”.
But another public notice was later issued on Thursday morning with the claim that some persons had planned to hijack the protest and unleash mayhem on the state capital.
Meanwhile, amid the threat of resumption in Yenagoa, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, Wednesday night constituted a judicial panel of inquiry as well as a special security and human rights committee in response to the demands of the protesters in the state.
He said”This is to notify the security agents to be on red alert against the hoodlums allegedly being mobilised to cause mayhem in parts of the state capital. Bayelsa State needs peace at this time and not war”
”Those allegedly plotting the mayhem are known enemies of the state and would be held accountable for any breakdown of law and order in the course of the protest. We call on #EndSARS protesters to be vigilante and conduct themselves peacefully as always”.
Governor Douye Diri, while constituting the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in a state radio broadcast Wednesday night in Yenagoa, said the panel and security and human rights committees were constituted in response to the yearnings of the youths as articulated in the demands of the End SARS protesters.
His words, “Bayelsa State government has decided to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate police brutality and allegations of human rights abuses and equally set up the special security and human rights committee to supervise and monitor the new tactical unit of the police Strategic Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) squad in the state.
“Accordingly, I hereby announce the following: the setting up and constitution of the judicial panel of inquiry in Bayelsa State under the authority of applicable laws of the state.
“The judicial panel of inquiry which has six months to complete its assignment is headed by Retired Justice Y.B. Ogola with Barr. Alaowei Opokuma as Secretary.
Others are A.T. Ambaowei, Mr Fortune Alfred Godson, Miss Perelade Demanche both representing civil society and Russell Newman representing the National Human Rights Commission.
Its terms of reference include “to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and or related extra-judicial killing in Bayelsa State; evaluate evidence, draw conclusions and make findings on the validity of the complaints; and to recommend compensation and other remedial measures.”
The committee on Special Security and Human Rights is headed by Governor Diri with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo, as Secretary.
Other members are the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mike Okoli, the State Director of State Security Services, Mr. A.A. Mahmoud, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security 1, Mr. Akpoebi Agberebi, Special Adviser on Security 2, Mr. Felix Ngobiowei and Barr. Alaowei Opokuma.
Mr. Eugene Baadom and Dr. Mathew Ayibakuro represent the National Human Rights Commission and the #EndSARS protesters respectively.
The committee’s terms of reference is to supervise and monitor the SWAT unit and ensure that the rights of Bayelsans and residents are protected.
Meanwhile, the umbrella Ijaw Youths worldwide, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has joined other well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to condemn the killing of defenceless citizens of Nigeria who are on the streets protesting against police brutality and bad governance in the country by the Nigerian army.
In a statement issued to newsmen in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the IYC through its Spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, described the killings of innocent protesters by the Nigerian Army as barbaric and callous and perpetrators should never go unpunished.
The IYC noted that the government should as a matter of urgency, set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate and ascertain what must have led to the crime against humanity committed by barbarians and cold-blooded murderers in military uniforms and bring the culprits to justice forthwith.
The IYC commended the bravery of the Nigerian youths who are protesting in the sun and in the rain against police brutality and bad governance in the Country and describes them, especially those who have paid the supreme price in the Lekki toll gate shootings as the “falling heroes of the struggle” whose spirits will not rest until a new Nigeria is birthed.
The IYC frowned at the “not too concerned” approach exhibited by the government which has escalated the crisis and urged them to take practical steps which will deescalate the tension and bring the country back to normalcy”.
“We call on ECOWAS, AU, the UN and the international community to keep a close eye on the happenings in Nigeria and take appropriate international actions to put the government in check as there are disturbing reports of state-sponsored human rights violations and torture to death currently going on silently in some satellite towns in parts of Abuja. To us in the IYC, what will put a finality to this uprising is a restructured Nigeria where every region will control its resources and pay taxes to the center”.