Thugs Attack Protesters, Journalists In Yenagoa

Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State
Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

A peaceful protest by members of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and Medical and Health Workers Union in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital,on Tuesday, was disrupted when the protesters were attacked by violent thugs.

The thugs, wielding dangerous weapons such as clubs and machetes, manhandled the protesting workers and the journalists who covered the protest.

The protesters were demanding salary arrears owed them by the local government authorities and alleging diversion of federal government’s bailout fund in Bayelsa.

Local government workers in the state said they are being owed between five and seven months’ salary arrears despite the fact that the state government had obtained bailout funds from the federal government to offset same in the state.

Reports also had it that the Bayelsa state government had assisted the local government councils earlier in the year to offset salary arrears owed council workers.

Not to be cowed, a joint Council of NULGE and MHWUN, issued a statement saying that the protest was in line with the struggle to improve the welfare of its members in the state.

The statement signed by Tonye Jaja of NULGE and Arafat Nwibani of the health workers union read in part: “We are demanding that the affected Chairmen of Councils and Commissioner for Local Government should immediately pay from  the bailout funds to workers of the affected council to avoid unpleasant consequences an sustain the peaceful industrial atmosphere in the system.



    “We unequivocally demand for the full payment of the salary of March; we demand the release of LGAs allocations to the councils immediately.”

    Many of the journalists affected by the crisis also lost their valuables including cash and gadgets.

    John Odhe, a reporter with the state owned newspaper, New Wave, who was affected in the clash said it was an unpleasant experience.

    “It was like a movie as the as thugs descended on us and started manhandling us with planks and stones; I managed to escape,” Odhe said.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement