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Okpe Youths Protest Arrest Of Chairman, Shutdown.Sapele

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Okpe Youths Protest Arrest Of Chairman, Shutdown.Sapele

COMMERCIAL activities were today shut down in Sapele as members of the Sapele-Okpe Community took to the major roads in Sapele protesting the arrest of the community youth chairman, Ekariko Obomine last night over an alleged land dispute.

Before the arrest of Obomine, who was reportedly whisked away by suspected security men at the venue of a novelty football match organised to mark Sapele-Okpe Community Youth Day on October 1st, there has been a build-up of tension following the announcement by Itsekiri youth residents in Sapele to also make their day on the same date.

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The protesters accused a prominent Abigborodo chief of being the mastermind of the arrest of the youth chairman over a land dispute, and they called on the Delta State Government to prevail on the said Chief to stop the constant harassment of Sapele-Okpe youths and also free the youth chairman.

The protesting youths also accused the chief of orchestrating the arrest of two Okpe youths last year, “now he has arrested our youth President, we will not accept this, he should be prepared to arrest all Okpe youths.”

Advocate.ng reports that for the timely intervention of men of the Nigeria police force led by the Sapele Divisional Police Officer, CSP Harrison Nwabuisi, the protest would have turned violent following the tension the arrest has generated since Thursday night.

The protester who are majorly youths trouped to the street as early as 6 am carrying posters and singing freedom songs, blocking major roads including Olympia and burning tires, thereby forcing economic activities to halt, as protesters stalled traffic along the major roads for many hours.

Addressing the protester, the Chairman of Sapele-Okpe Community, Chief Temiagin Ayomanor urged the youths to remain calm in the face of provocation, noting that Okpe leaders are already on top of the matter and soon the youth chairman would be released.

Chief Ayomanor who addressed newsmen at the town hall said Obomine was not arrested but kidnapped last night by security men, alleging that the security men laid siege on the venue of the football match before whisking him away at about 7 pm yesterday.

He however called on the protesters to remove the roadblocks, assuring them that no part of Okpe land would be ceded to those fighting to grab their land.

He also called on the State Government and the security agencies to stop forth with the proposed celebration of Sapele-Itsekiri Youth Day on October 1 to avoid a breakdown of law and order.

As of the time of reporting, security men were seen mounting strategic points in the town, while community leaders and other security heads were locked in a security meeting on the way out of the crisis.

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