Armed Ijaw Youths Invade Radio Station in Yenagoa, Injure Many

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Many persons were wounded at the premises of a radio station owned by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce on Thursday in Bayelsa after the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, invaded the station in an attempt to halt a live programme.

THISDAY gathered that the attack on the premises of Rhythm FM studios, was a fallout of the leadership tussle between Mr Udengs Eradiri, President of the foremost Ijaw group, and Mr Wisdom Ikuli, who is laying claim to the position.

The programme, Talk of the Town, anchored by Lishman Onisodemuya, was reportedly on when the youths who stormed the studio in buses and other vehicles started shooting into the air, forcing employees in both the radio and television studios of Silverbird Group to run for safety.

Ikuli, National Mobilisation Officer of the IYC, it was learnt, and and a self-acclaimed spokesman of the council, Mike Edounkimo, were thereafter dragged out during the live programme and seriously battered.
Ikuli and Edounkimor were said to have been thoroughly beaten with bruises all over their faces by the youths who attempted to bundle them into one of the vehicles before the intervention of the police.
The mob that ensued reportedly robbed employees of the studios of their money, mobile handsets and other prized possessions.

Following the imbroglio, the radio studio was temporarily shut down.
At the time of filing this story yesterday, the attackers had been picked up and taken to the Ekeki Police Station in Yenagoa, it was gathered.

Six of the 10-member executive council had recently unilaterally suspended Eradiri and the Spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare.
But the Parliament of the IYC, which has the power to sanction errant members said that due process was flouted by the dissident National Secretary-General, Bristol-Alagbariye Emmanuel; Director of Mobilisation, Ikuli; Legal Adviser, Ekine Egberekro; Assistant Secretary, Deinkoro George; National Women Leader, Felicia Ngeri and Financial Sercretary, Kemepado Alfred,who reportedly signed the document suspending the duo.

The aggrieved executive members accused Eradiri and Omare of highhandedness, financial misappropriation and replaced them with Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo and Edounkimor, who both belong to the Ikuli camp.
Speaker of IYC Mobile Parliament (IMP), Mr. Mkpon Ijonama, had described the persons bandying the suspension document as renegades.

“We have a procedure as an entity and if you go to Article 10 of the constitution of Ijaw Youth Council, it spelt boldly and clearly a procedure in which one can be suspended or removed from the council.
‘’None of the procedures were met before the so-called suspension on social media”, he had said.
It was learnt that Eradiri had on Wednesday been interviewed on the same programme, which Ikuli attempted to respond to yesterday.

Eradiri was said to have been angered by Ikuli’s comments warning him and Omare to stop parading themselves as leaders of the body.
He also reeled out financial figures he claimed Eradiri collected on behalf of the council and diverted to his personal pocket.

Youths loyal to Eradiri who heard the announcement and felt that their leader had been insulted reportedly mobilised to the station to perpetrate the violence.
Mr Asinim Butswat, the police Spokesman in the state, confirmed the incident, noting that the command was ‘on top’ of the situation.