Rivers declares youth leader wanted

The Rivers state government has declared a youth, Mr Genesis Miebaka alias Ikpaki wanted for alleged criminal activities and harassment of contractors in the State.

Paulinus Nsirim the state’s commissioner for information said in a terse statement that law enforcement agencies have been directed to arrest and prosecute him immediately.

This comes a day after six members of the Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition were abducted by unknown gunmen for protesting against construction giant, Julius Berger.

The youths accused governor Nyesom Wike of threatening to kill its members and subsequently sending gunmen to abduct them.

The group said its scheduled Tuesday protest with various youth groups, including student Unions among others against Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has been rescheduled to a new date.

Legborsi Yamaabana, President, Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition said a major reason why the protest was rescheduled is to honour those who were kidnapped by suspected state-sponsored thugs.

“We hereby demand for their immediate release.

“The aim of the protest remains on four fronts among which are demands that Julius Berger should comply with Local Content laws and Corporate Social Responsibility etc.

“For the records, Julius Berger has completed 3 flyovers and currently constructing 5 additional flyovers with several kilometres of roads, together with the Bodo-Bonny road with several bridges which cumulatively run into several hundred of billions of naira.

“Despite the aforesaid, the company has audaciously jettisoned Corporate Social Responsibility and Local Content Laws thus far, as practised globally.

“The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka invited us (RSEYLC) to a meeting yesterday, upon our arrival at the Police Headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, the commissioner informed us that the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike want to be part of the meeting, we obliged and thereafter proceeded to Government House where we met with the Governor.

“At the said meeting, the Governor threatened to kill us if we dare to carry-out any protest against Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. He said, he will defend Julius Berger to the last drop of his blood and nobody or group can ask the company for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or local content empowerment.

“When we insisted to go on with the protest if Julius Berger fails to comply with our lawful demands, the Governor directed his commissioner for information, Paulinus Nsirim to issue a statement, threatening to deal with any member RSEYLC that comes out for the protest.

“Still determined to defend the interest of Rivers State Youths, we stepped out for the protest and before we could arrive at the venue, gunmen suspected to be from the Governor invaded us and whisked away the Secretary of Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition and about six other youth leaders who were out for the protest.

“We wonder why the governor and government of Rivers State have decided to defend Julius Berger against Rivers State Youth Leaders at all cost.

“Although there were reports notwithstanding from our intelligence unit of plots to infiltrate the protesters with armed miscreants so as to criminalize the protesters and occasion a stage-managed gun battle with deployed troops leading to the killing of protesters, our resolve remains unchanging as we explore other channels of this same advocacy.

“We, therefore, reiterate our demand that the secretary of RSEYLC and all those kidnapped by state-sponsored miscreants be set free immediately.

“Finally, we condemn these brazen act of Julius Berger and her institutional collaborator, the Rivers State Government for attempting to suppress our fundamental rights to expression and peaceful assembly.

“We call on the international community, especially the German Embassy and the European Union, Amnesty International and all men of goodwill and lovers of justice to stand with Rivers State Youth Leaders at this trying time”.