by Emmanuel Addeh, Warri

 


Hundreds of ex-militants on Tuesday invaded the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union Journalists, in 3rd Marine Gate, Warri, Delta State, threatening to burn down the building.

The ex-militants, who brandished, various weapons came with kegs of petroleum, because, according to them, reporters were not on the ground to take interviews over their unpaid monthly stipend.

Among the protesters were 17 ladies who said they were demonstrating in solidarity with their husbands who were trained in the phase two Amnesty Programme.

They threatened to lynch the Chairman of the Correspondent Chapel, Michael Ikeogwu, but for the quick intervention of soldiers and policemen who arrested a handful of them.

The Warri Galaxy Television correspondent, Dele Fasan, who tried to calm the youths, was manhandled for refusing to record the protest.

The ex-militants who gave journalists 30 minutes to mobilise to interview them, started smashing glass doors when it was obvious that most reporters had fled.

Gbenga Ahmed, a reporter with Independent Television, Benin, also had his car  vandalised and was forced to record the protest.

The incident caused gridlock on the 1st and 3rd Marine Gate roads for hours before a team of soldiers of the Joint Task Force came to the rescue.

It took the efforts of the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, Nigerian Army, Effurun, near Warri, Lt.Col Ifeanyi Otu, who sent his men following a distress call from the NUJ leadership to curtail the protest.

Paul Oniyan, and Billy Onaro, who led the protest, were taken away by the soldiers while several of the youths scaled the fence.

A protest letter by the ex-militants had earlier demanded the removal of Kingsley Kuku, the Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta for what they called his “incompetence.”

It was learnt that the same group had earlier been stopped by security forces while on their way to Abuja for a protest.

 

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