Group condemns violent protest in Edo community

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By Samson Atekojo Usman

The Ukhomunyio Youth Association, UYA, has strongly condemned a protest in the Okpella community of Edo State last month which led to the death of two youths and injuries on others.

The Association in a statement signed by its National President, Omoalu Merry and the General Secretary, Afiabor God’sluck Sunday, however, called on the security agencies to fish out the organizers of the protest to face the law.

The association dissociated itself from the protest and lamented that all entreaties to dissuade the organizers from going ahead with the unfortunate action fell on deaf ears.

“We vehemently condemn it and call on the security agencies to come against the culprit,” the UYA said.

The UYA statement titled: “Our position on the violence of 28th day of June 2023 in Okpella and the need to bring culprits to book” reads:

“We the undersigned, Youth Leaders of Ukhomunyio Community, have reassessed the unfortunate and avoidable crises of 28 day of June 2023, which can only be best described as unfortunate and have decided to issue this press statement.

“The unfortunate protest cut short the lives of two vibrant young men and left few others with various degrees of injuries.

“We make bold to state that the said protest would have remained a myth rather than a reality if the organizers had listened to the voice of reason.

“We are peace loving people and as such will not subscribe to unnecessary youth unrest in our community.

“We understand and encourage peaceful protest of any form, borne out of genuine interest and intention, especially for the betterment of our community.

“But we must state unequivocally that we condemn any form of rascality under the guise of protest, which we undeniably saw on the 28 day of June, 2023.

“Protests do not just happen as a matter of leisure. They happen out of genuine interest. They come up only if and when peaceful engagements have been made with interested parties. It doesn’t take the form of ‘cult regroupings’ or strength showmanship.

“It’s a serious business and as such has rules and regulations. For the avoidance of doubt, when the news of the intended protest filtered into our ears, we quickly called the organizers and asked them to stop it immediately as indications pointed that it had no genuine formation and character.

“We distanced ourselves from it as a community. But unfortunately, the organizers went ahead to put the entire community in a state of topsy-turvy and hullabaloo which it will take a very long time to recover from.

“Our old mothers and aged fathers were at the receiving end of the actions and reactions therefrom. It was definitely an eye-sore. We vehemently condemn it and call on the security agencies to come against the culprit.

“It was not an Ukhomunyio affair in any form and shape. As a matter of fact, they brought us disgrace and made us vulnerable to the Nigerian Army’s reaction.”

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