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Protesting youths injured in Ondo State.

Scores of people sustained injuries Thursday at the Ondo State House
of Assembly complex when security operatives shot sporadically to
disperse the protesting youths.

The youths had been on peaceful demonstration at the entrance of the
Assembly along Igbatoro road in Akure, the state capital since last
Sunday against the outgoing state governor, Olusegun Mimiko decision to
present the 2017 budget and some bills 21 days to the end of his
‎tenure.

They were also chased away on Wednesday ‎when news filtered in that the governor would be presenting the last budget of his administration.

Already, there was a crack among the lawmakers as two factions led by
Hon. Malachi Cokers and Hon. Jumoke Akindele are laying claim to the
leadership of the parliament.

Coker’s faction had hijacked the Assembly by resuming every day to
perform their constitutional plenary sessions, while those who were in
Akindele’s camp and also loyal to Mimiko had shunned the Assembly.

The drama ensued when Mimiko and his aides attempted to enter the
Assembly but was rebuffed by the protesters, who allegedly barricaded
the road.

In the process, the police was said to have allegedly shot
sporadically to disperse them thereby leading to many of them sustaining
injuries.

The governor immediately drove away from the spot of the incident.

Our reporters, who were at the Assembly premises, noticed heavy security presence at complex.

Coker’s faction, who are 13 in number were still holding their plenary session as at the time the incident occured.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison was seen entering the Complex.

One of the lawmakers, who spoke in confidence said the CP asked them
to leave the complex but they insisted that they would complete their
sitting for the day before leaving the hallowed chamber.

A leader of the protesters said “we normally have our peaceful
protest at the premises of Ondo State House of Assembly, just like what
we had on Wednesday, but surprisingly today (yesterday), Police men started shooting sporadically, stray bullets, and this is uncalled for.

“We believe there is room for peaceful protest, as entrenched in our
constitution, we believe we have the right to this protest, Just
yesterday we called on the Inspector General of Police to call Ondo
Commissioner of police to order, and I will want to reiterate that it is
uncalled for.

“We learnt that the Commissioner of police was even persuading the
members of the house of Assembly already seated to move out of the
assembly complex.

“It is the same Commissioner of Police who was there few days ago and
asked that the place be closed down,  it is the same Commissioner of
Police who authorize the presentation of budget, it is the same
Commissioner of Police who now asked the members of the house of
Assembly to leave the complex 
“We don’t know why there is this issue of sporadic shooting in a
peaceful protest,  it is uncalled for,  and we are calling on the
Inspector General of Police to look into the matter and we’ll meaning
Nigerians and citizens of Ondo State.

“We have been at the Assembly for the past three days,  we didn’t
know Governor Mimiko was even coming,  we have always been there to
protest“What we are protesting for is to tell our people that the governor
is bringing a bill that will bring untold hardship to the people of the
state

“We are harmless people,  we don’t have enemy to fight,  we don’t
have guns,  we don’t have cutlass,  we don’t have any dangerous weapon,
 so why shooting sporadically

“Many of our members are injured,  it was sporadic gunshot everywhere
and in the course of this  gun shot,  many of our members are injured‎”

‎But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph denied that live bullets were used to disperse the crowd.

Joseph said the police only used tear gas on them when some of them attempted to attack the convoy of the governor.

“We have been diplomatic in our approach to the protesters since they have been around the Assembly.

“But unfortunately yesterday, they went ahead to block the highway and they were also approaching the Assembly complex.

“We have to react by using tear gas to disperse them when they attempted to attack the convoy of the governor‎,” the PPRO said.

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