Protest rocks Port Harcourt over disappearance of youth leaders after meeting with Navy officials

Tina Amanda

Youths of Rumuolumeni Community in Obio Akpor local government area of the state are protesting against the unlawful detention their Leaders by the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS PATHFINDER in Rumuolumeni since Monday, 11 January, 2021.

The placards carrying youths who marched from the Rumuolumeni Town Hall, Iwofe Road, barricaded all major entrances of the community demanding the immediate release of the Chairman of the Community Development Committee – Barrister Ikechi Williams; Chairman Rumuolumeni Employment Bureau REB/ Youth President – Comrade Noble Nnamdi Orluogele; Bobo Chimo, REB member; Barrister George Ariba – Vice Chairman CDC; Uchechukwu George Onukwuru – Community Stakeholder, amongst others.

Our correspondent reports that the protest caused traffic build up as over fifty (50) Petroleum Tankers and motorist could not navigate through the roads.

In an interview with our correspondent, Vice Chairman Rumuolumeni Employment Bureau, Comrade Emmanuel Ikinga, narrated that the CDC Chairman and others were invited by NNS PATHFINDER for a round table discussion on 11th January, and until the time of interview, their whereabout are unknown.

According to him, the community sought for employment from Ocean Marine Solution, an Oil Company situated in NNS PATHFINDER premises, only for the representatives who went to seek for the employment opportunity to be detained without cause.

“The Youths are on a peaceful demonstration, we are asking the NNS PATHFINDER that is detaining our leaders since yesterday to release them. They were told to come for a round table meeting in a company by name Ocean Marine Solution inside the NNS PATHFINDER Rumuolumeni Base.

“Since that yesterday, we have been calling their phone lines, they are not taking their calls, we have not seen nor heard anything from them either. Right now, we demand our chairman and other members be release to us unconditionally from now till twelve (12) noon today, if not we the Youths will March to NNS PATHFINDER Base”

Also speaking, a Community Leader, Comrade Bright Nyeche, lamented that the community which is hosting several Companies have not benefited anything from the said Company, while calling for the state government’s intervention.

“The community is a peaceful community, we are not involved in any form of violence. The Commandant of NNS PATHFINDER is harbouring the said Company for years, the company has not done anything for the community, no development, no employment for Youths of the community or whatsoever.

“We have written series of letters and no good response came to us. We are calling on the state government, the Governor, His Excellency Nyesom Wike, the State House Assembly and all well meaning Nigerians to ask the Navy to release our chairman and others, that is our demands”

Another Community Leader, Comrade Tony Ogbonda, lamented that the Nigerian Navy NNS PATHFINDER has refused to provide good security network for the people of the community.

“We want the State government to know that the Navy is not helping the people of Rumuolumeni, Navy has been operating in the community for years, yet no good security from them. Imagine where violence will erupt in the community, we will call for Navy intervention and they will refuse to intervene, they are only interested in taking things that belong to the community, looking for a way to chase the indigenes from their community”