09 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa – Residents of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital yesterday shunned civil society groups’ protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government.
The civil society groups under the aegis of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Bayelsa chapter had weekend called for public protest against the subsidy removal and had even gone ahead to sensitize the public not to sit on the fence but to come out en mass to protest against the Federal Government policy which they considered as “anti Nigerian people.”
While the leaders of the civil society groups in the state blamed the failure of the street protest to hold on the refusal of the police to grant them permit for the rally, a senior police source dismissed the claim as untrue saying the command even deployed policemen to provide the civil society groups protection which informed presence of security operatives at take off point of the rally and other strategic locations in the state capital so as to prevent miscreants from hijacking the process.
According to the police source, the refusal of residents to heed the call of the civil society groups stage a street protest may have cause their leaders to turn around to say they were denied permit for the rally.
Informed sources told Vanguard that contrary to claims that the protesters were stopped from holding their rally, some pro subsidy lobbyists Sunday night succeeded in infiltrating the rank of the anti subsidy removal camp and the result was the failure of residents to turn out for the rally.
Aside the pro subsidy removal loyalists dividing the rank of the civil society groups’ members to scuttle the street protest, most residents of the capital city were not prepared to be seen as kicking against the policy of Mr. President whom they considered as one of their own by protesting on the streets.
Though all government offices, commercial banks and schools which were billed to resume yesterday were under lock and keys in deference to the organized labour stay at home directive, market women, retail outlet owners and transporters defied the directive.
It was business as usual in the few markets in the capital city as the traders were going about their normal in spite of poor turn out of customers most of whom stayed in the comfort of their homes to monitor the national strike on television.
Also some of the filling stations defied the stay at home directive of the NLC and TUC by selling to members of the public.
As at press time some of the supermarkets that close shop in the early hours of the day had opened to customers while security patrol of the streets was intensified by the state police command.