There was pandemonium at the Yenizue-Gene area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, after armed policemen stormed the area, beating and arresting jobless graduates who assembled to begin a protest against unemployment.
The security operatives were said to have thrown caution to the wind as they injured the aggrieved graduates and arrested over 30 of them including five of their leaders.
Our correspondent gathered that the policemen including members of the state security outfit, codenamed Operation Doo- Akpo harassed the youths and bundled them to the Criminal Investigation Department.
They were said to have been hounded into the CID cells while others escaped to avoid the arrest.
The unemployed graduates numbering over 150 were said to have gathered on a street at Yene-Izuegene to begin a peaceful protest against the government.
They were said to be angry that the government had done nothing to alleviate their plight.
Part of the plan was to issue a 30-day ultimatum to the Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration to lift embargo on employment into the civil service in order to absorb them.
The protesters, under the aegis of Unemployed Graduates Forum of Bayelsa, had claimed that all their efforts to meet with some top government officials over their travails proved abortive.
They were said to have earlier given the government one month ultimatum to create 20,000 jobs for jobless graduates.
But the protesters, who wore white T-shirts with inscriptions,”we need job”,”give us jobs”, said they would not be intimidated by the arrest of their members.
Speaking on their behalf, Mr. Anthony Joseph, a mechanical engineering graduate, said they had three weeks earlier informed the police of the protest.
He wondered why the police were after them.
“We are fighting a just course. Most of our graduates have been unemployed for between five, seven years and ten years. We have met the Commissioner for Science and Technology and other top government functionaries in the state on the need to create jobs for us ,but all efforts proved abortive.
“Government should come to our aide. We are pleading with government to create jobs for us.They should release our detained members”, Joseph said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa Police Command, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, confirmed the arrest of the protesters, and said they were being interrogated.
Akhigbe recalled that the group had informed the Police Command of their protest ,but he said the permit was not granted them by the police command.