Youth groups insist on protest against Julius Berger despite warning from Wike

Governor Nyesom Wike: warns African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition against embarking on protest against Julius Berger

Governor Nyesom Wike: warns African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition against embarking on protest against Julius Berger

Governor Nyesom Wike: warns African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition against embarking on protest against Julius Berger
Governor Nyesom Wike: warns African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition against embarking on protest against Julius Berger

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Two youth groups in Rivers,  African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition led by Prince Gomene Namene and Legborsi Yamaabana respectively have insisted they will embark on massive protest against construction giant, Julius Berger in Port Harcourt on Tuesday despite warnings not to do so from Governor Nyesom Wike.

African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition said in posters announcing the protests that their grouse against Julius Berger was over the failure of the company to discharge its corporate social responsibility and implementation local content in the contracts it has been executing for the state government.

The Wike administration has been patronizing Julius Berger in massive construction works, including building of flyovers in Port Harcourt.

But in swift reaction on Monday evening,  the Rivers State Government, in a strongly worded statement warned against the protest.

In the statement signed by Paulinus Nsirim, Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, the state government warned the youth groups not dare come out carry out for the peaceful protest billed for Tuesday 30th March.

The government described leaders of the protest as faceless youth groups.

“These groups hiding under the guise of demanding for local content and corporate social responsibility from Julius Berger are clearly being sponsored by enemies of the State who are not happy with the infrastructural revolution going on in the State.

“Government hereby warns these groups that it will not condone their sinister ploy to disrupt the timeline set by government to complete these projects,” the government statement issued by the Information Commissioner, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim warned.

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But in a swift response, one of the youth leaders, Legborsi Yemabana said Wike will not be allowed to stop the protest.

“We must go ahead with the protest against Julius Berger tomorrow, no matter the resistance by Rivers State Government. If any Rivers youths die tomorrow during our protest, Governor Wike and Julius Berger should be held responsible”

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The flyers by the two youth groups,  African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders announcing the protest
The flyers by the two youth groups,  African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders announcing the protest

See full text of Rivers Government Announcement

Rivers State Government has received intelligence reports that two faceless groups, African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation and Rivers State Ethnic Youth Leaders Coalition purportedly led by Prince Gomene Namene and Legborsi Yamaabana respectively have been hired to cause breach of the peace in the State.

The two groups have threatened to shut down the operations of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC with effect from March 30, 2021 in order to frustrate the ongoing construction of five Flyovers at Rumuola, GRA Junction, Orochiri-Worukwo, Oroabali and Nkpolu-Oroworukwo.

These groups hiding under the guise of demanding for local content and corporate social responsibility from Julius Berger are clearly being sponsored by enemies of the State who are not happy with the infrastructural revolution going on in the State.

Government hereby warns these groups that it will not condone their sinister ploy to disrupt the timeline set by government to complete these projects.

Security Agencies have been placed on red alert to arrest and prosecute anyone or group of persons that will sabotage the completion of these projects.

Government will deal decisively with anyone or group that will test her resolve in providing the right infrastructure for the State.

Paulinus Nsirim

Commissioner for Information and Communications