Approximately two thousand youths of the Isoko Progressive Youth Centre of Delta state invaded government offices in Isoko South and North early today, taking hostages and destroying property worth millions of naira, police said.
They accused the government agencies of defrauding them of millions of naira in the Federal government pipeline surveillance in the Niger Delta region as well as the marginalization of their areas. The youths, led by their National President, Comrade Anthony Ogbalor, alias “Dracula,” also seized buses belonging to the Delta state government transport services while invading Oleh and Ozoro respectively. It was reliably learnt that the rampage, which lasted just a few minutes, disrupted official and economic activities in the area.
They vandalized cars, desktop computers, doors, all the glass windows in Isoko South secretariat, Oleh and the NULGE building windows in Isoko North secretariat, Ozoro as well as a eighteen-sitter bus belonging to the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, a Hilux van, and Peugeot 504 saloon car. The youths also accused officials in Isoko and the state for gross marginalization of the pipeline surveillance while some millions of naira was diverted into pockets of politicians.
Explaining the reasons behind their actions, Mr. Ogbalor, national president of the Isoko Progressive Youth Centre told our reporter that it was not unconnected to the Federal, State and local governments marginalization of the Isoko nation, especially the youth, as well as the government’s massive fraud against the Isoko ethnic youth by some Isoko top politicians in the contract of pipeline surveillance in the region and Isoko slots in particular.
If government continues to turn a deaf ear to their demands, Ogbalor warned, his boys would seize all oil installations in Isoko land, adding that their next actions would be more violent. “Dracula” – as he calls himself - said that their attacks on the two councils were as a result of negligence by the two local government councils, the state and Federal Government, Oil multinationals and corporate bodies operating in Isoko land.
“Our grievance is the underdevelopment of the Isoko ethnic nationality, lack of employment for the youth, empowerment, establishment, signing of general Memorandum of Understanding with the youth and Oil landlords, Nonpayment of bursary, scholarship awards and provision of skill acquisition and training centres and much more.”
Meanwhile, some notable Isoko indigenes as well as politicians and groups hailed the action of the youths, saying that it has to do with the lingering issue of gross marginalization of the land by successive governments both local, state and federal. This government, at all levels, milks them of their natural minerals, they complained.