Punish Coffin-Bearing Women Protesters, Group Urges Bayelsa Govt

A group of leaders from all the local government areas of Bayelsa State, under the auspices of the Bayelsa Restoration Caucus, has asked the government to punish those found wanting in the recent women protest in the state.

Old women of between ages 60 and 70 years, working for the state-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, had on Tuesday protested their disengagement from the university.

The casket-bearing protesters had carried a mock coffin of Governor Seriake Dickson during the demonstration which locked down Amassoma – the university town.

But the BRC, in a statement signed by Chief Francis Doukpola (Sagbama LGA); Chief Isaac Kumokou (Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA); Chief Godwin Odumgba (Yenagoa); Chief George Fente (Nembe) and Chief George Okrinya (Ogbia), urged the government to bring to book those guilty of promoting violence, fraud and obstruction of public peace.

The caucus, after an emergency meeting in Yenagoa on Friday, contended that those who protested were sponsored and such acts should be discouraged by Bayelsa people.

The group urged Bayelsans to note that NDU belongs to all of them, hence they should protect it from collapse or attack from those who do not mean well for the state.

The BRC said, “The institution retired persons who are above 60 and 70 years in line with the civil service rules as well as paid three months salaries in lieu of the retirement of the affected persons.

“The institution should continue the reforms vigorously, while not allowing itself to be intimidated by anyone or group of persons.

“Those found wanting for promoting violence, fraud and obstruction of public peace should be dealt with according to the laws of the land.”

The caucus threw weight behind the public sector reforms carried out by Seriake Dickson administration, saying that the reforms had saved the government billions of naira.

It said, “The reforms have continued to expose payroll fraud, age falsifiers, certificate forgery, truancy, indiscriminate service promotions, inherited employment and persons having multiple employments where they earn salaries from different government agencies.

“The reforms have reduced the wage bill of the state from N6.7bn in 2012 when Dickson took over government to N3.9bn as of today.”

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