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Security operatives abort 'Occupy Kaduna' protest

By The Citizen
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A planned 'Occupy Kaduna' protest by youths in the North over the increasing insecurity in the region was aborted on Saturday in Kaduna, the state capital.

Our correspondent gathered that all routes leading to the Murtala Sqaure, venue of the protest were barricaded by a combined team of the Army, police and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps in the state, thereby, preventing tens of thousands of youths from protesting.

A Coalition of Northern youths groups under the aegis of Northern Youths Consensus Movement had on Wednesday announced that it would commence the 'Occupy Kaduna' protest as from Saturday, May 10  to Sunday to protest the continued insecurity in the region, particularly, the north-eastern part of the country.

The group had said, it would mobilise 150,000 youths for the protest. It had also asked Northern delegates to the ongoing National Conference and National Assembly members of northern extraction to return home until the security challenges bedeviling the north were totally addressed.

The Coordinator of the group, Ibrahim Awala had said that 'killings are increasing in the north on a daily basis and the government seems not to be doing anything to stop it. As Northerners and Nigerians, we believe, we must gather to fight this insecurity problem together, because the security of Nigeria is a collective responsibility.

'Nobody can stop us from exercising our right to ensure the security of this country. Since our leaders are not bothered about the security of the region, we the youths will take our future into our hands by ensuring that we occupy Kaduna until the right thing is done.

'It is better for the National Assembly members to return home in their own interest, because whoever refuses to return home will be considered to be among those benefiting from the insecurity.'

However, the youth that had earlier threatened to defy security operatives who dared them were nowhere to be found when our correspondent visited the venue of the 'Occupy Kaduna' protest as early as 8pm.

The youths however vowed that, they were ready to sacrifice their lives for the success of the 'Occupy Kaduna' protest, as they threatened to dare any security agency that tries to stop them.

An Armoured Personnel Carrier belonging to the Nigeria Police was stationed   at the main entrance to the protest ground, just as stern-looking security operatives virtually took over the entire vicinity and adjoining streets linking the venue.

Meanwhile, leadership of the coalition, who later addressed newsmen, however called on all youths residing in the state to embark on 'stay at home' protest as from Monday next week.

Awala, the coordinator of the group, lamented that security agencies who were worst hit and always cry of lack adequate weapons during crisis period could mobilise all sorts of assorted weapons to stop the youths from carrying out a peaceful protest that would hitherto improve their lots.

He insisted that the youths  would not rest until the security challenges in the north was totally addressed.

But when contacted as to know why the planned protest was aborted by security operatives in the state, the Kaduna Police Command's Public Relations  Officer, Aminu Lawan, a Deputy Superintendent Police, declined to comment and instead directed our correspondent to 'go and ask the organisers of the protest on who stopped them from protesting.' Punch