One person was confirmed dead, while eight others were injured yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital as some ex-militant commanders and youths staged a protest against Governor Henry Seriake Dickson over his alleged plans to hijack the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) surveillance contract for the state owned security outfit, Izon Ebi.
Ex-militant leaders from other Niger Delta states were said to have been beneficiaries of the NNPC surveillance contracts which were recently awarded to companies where they have interest.
Checks indicated that though the aggrieved ex-militant leaders and their boys had secretly commenced mobilization for the protest on Thursday, it was leaked to security agencies prompting some policemen to take over strategic locations at the Etegwe-Tombia roundabout in Yenagoa early yesterday.
However when the protesters arrived, the policemen called for reinforcement on the strength that the protest might turn violent especially as their arrival heightened tension at the popular roundabout with travelers stranded due to inability to leave Yenagoa through the road.
Investigations revealed that the deployment of anti-riot policemen and shooting of teargas cannisters to disperse the gathering provoked the ex-militants as they engaged the policemen, hurling stones at their vehicles. They succeeded in vandalizing a police truck.
Saturday Sun gathered that nine vehicles were vandalized in the ensuing violence while business shops around the area were also affected.
It took the intervention of reinforcement from the Police headquarters and some officials of the Presidential Amnesty Office to clam frayed nerves, as they appealled to the ex-militants to allow peace to reign.
Eyewitness account said an ex-militant identified as John Opotobo from Southern Ijaw local government area was killed during the protest, while eight people were said to have sustained various degree of injuries.
An ex-militant leader, Comrade Eris Paul popularly known as General Ogunboss, who confirmed participation in the protest, said the angry ex-militants staged the protest due to the wrong policies of the state government and the plot by Dickson to hijack a multi-billion dollar NNPC pipeline surveillance contract meant for oil communities in the state.