Police tear-gass protesting ex-militants in A/Ibom

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By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
A group of angry youths, who identified themselves as ex-militants from Akwa Ibom State, encountered superior battle with men of the Nigeria Police Force who used Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and teargas canisters to scuttle their protest on Tuesday.
The group who staged a peaceful protest to government house located along Willington Bassey Way in Uyo to register their anger over what they call “non-payment of their monthly stipends since 2008 and non-inclusion in the federal government amnesty programme”, blamed the Akwa Ibom state government for being insensitive to their plights years after the programme was introduced.
The protesting the ex-militants protest which began in the morning and lasted till about noon insisted on seeing the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel led to the cordoning of all the adjourning streets near the government house by security operatives against breakdown of law and order in the areas.
Eye witnesses said that the policemen spent hours to pacify the ex-militants who numbered over 100 and tied red scarf to leave the area but the militants on their part insisted that they should be allowed to have audience with the governor, maintaining that past attempts to resolve the issue have not yielded dividends.
The aggrieved ex-militant group insisted  that their counterparts from other states have been paid their stipends, adding that it was only in Akwa Ibom that their demands had not seen the light of the day.
“We have made our demands known over the years, we have been coming here repeatedly, but there has been no positive response from the state government,” they were quoted as saying.
New Nigerian gathered that as all attempts by the security operatives to prevent the ex-militants from insisting on seeing the governor fell on deaf eyes, they resorted to moving in the APC amidst teargas canisters to the air which sent everybody including the protesters scampering for safety.
Although neither Governor Emmanuel nor his representative came to address the ex-militants while the protest lasted, information from the governor’s offices said they came to a wrong place and that they should have taken their protest to Abuja since that issue of the amnesty scheme is a federal programme, there it should be addressed by the federal government.
When contacted on telephone for comments, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Cordelia Nwawe said that the protesters were not ex-militants adding “we do not have militants in Akwa Ibom state.’’
Nwawe, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) said the police would continue to be up and doing in the maintenance of law and order in the state and therefore won’t give room for hoodlums in the state.
As at the time of filing this report, the entire stretch of the road leading to the government house was blocked by security operatives while the militants have been chased out.
It would be recalled that the protesting ex-militants had few weeks ago while on same mission which also led to the blocking of entries into government house gate for hours, suffered same treatment by the combined team of security operatives.

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