Thursday, 23 May 2013
Police Brutalize Youth Protesters in Akwa Ibom, 10 Arrested, Reporter Assaulted
A reporter with a local tabloid in Akwa Ibom today got a taste of police brutality as he was assaulted and molested by policemen deployed by Universal Energy Resources to brutalize members of its host community in Mbo council area.
A team of policemen from Mbo Division clashed with protesting youths at the Stubb Creek Marginal Oil operated by Universal Energy Resources Ltd in Akwa Ibom.
In their hundreds, the youths blocked the access road to the oil field in Mbo local government of Akwa Ibom. They were dispersed by police who shot sporadically into the air, sending the protesters scampering for safety. Five youth leaders were arrested and taken to the Mbo Divisional Police Headquarters in Enwang. One person received gunshot injuries and is reported to be receiving treatment at a private clinic in Oron.
The Divisional Police Officer, Superintendent of Police Anietie Eyo who led the operation confirmed the arrest of ten youths and said that they have been transferred to the Area Command Headquarters in Oron.
“We arrested five youths and have transferred them to the Area Command in Oron where they are currently being detained,” he told SaharaReporters. “We are expecting reinforcement to fortify the manpower that we have to forestall further escalation of the situation here.
Mr Eteka Etim, Youth President of Mbo Youths Development Association, said that police brutalization of youths is unacceptable and would be resisted.
‘We were conducting a very peaceful demonstration without using any arms nor ammunition but to our greatest surprise the DPO opened fire on us and shot one person,” he said, stressing that the battle line had been drawn. “We shall fight this battle till the very end.”
SaharaReporters learnt that officials of Universal Energy had hatched and perfected the plans within the one week that the youths suspended the strike action.
Universal Energy Resources is owned by the Akwa Ibom government< with Chinese Oil firm SINOPEC as technical partners.
The youths disrupted operations at the oil field last month when they sacked oil workers from the field over the refusal of the oil firm to sign an MOU with them.