Soldiers have intercepted about 15 youths of Ndokwa ethnic nationality in Delta State who were going for a peaceful protest against an oil company at Ase Omoku community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of the state.
They accused the youths accosted at Ashaka of planning to raze the Independent Power Plant, IPP, project in Okpai.
A source, however, said that the soldiers found no dangerous weapons on the youths when they searched them.
Among those arrested were Nnamdi Uwai, Onowoma Dickson, Nnamdi Community, Valentine Uyabeme, Ijeegbunem Obi, Kelvin Nwadele, Kanayo Kukagha, Agriga Ossai, Dinma Kukaya, Nelson Mabeme, Chidi and Uche Mabeme.
Leader of the Coalition of Ndokwa Youth Leaders, Mr Alex Agha, who confirmed the arrest of the youths said, “They explained to the soldiers that they had no business with IPP and their mission was to Ase Omoku, where they were going for a peaceful protest, yet they were arrested.”
He said other members of the coalition who were earlier stopped by soldiers from going to Ase Omoku proceeded to Umuseti community, the headquarters of the oil firm, Sterling Global, to lodge their grievances and were received by the Base Manager of the company, Mr Mohan.
A source at the 222 Battalion, Agbarha-Otor, in Ughelli North Local Government Area, confirmed the arrest of the youths, but alleged that a youth leader sponsored them to disrupt activities of oil companies in the area and extort money for personal benefit.
He told one of our reporters that the military handed over the youths to the Police Area Command, Ughelli.