May 18, 2024

How Three Edo Youths Lost Their Lives To Army Personnel For Protesting Against Unemployment, Extortions

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By Simeon OSAJIE

Thee Edo State Youths from Afokpella Community in Etsako East local government area of the state lost their lives to Nigerian Army personnel for protesting against unemployment and extortions.

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Apart from the three killed, several other youths sustained varying degrees of bullet injuries.

The youths were protesting to express their grievances against extortion and underemployment by the two cement factories operating in the community, namely BUA Cement Company and Dangote Cement.

According to FIJ, the deceased, were identified as 29-year-old Oyegwu Anasala Afoso, and David Agbagie with one other person whose identity is yet-to-be ascertained. They were reportedly shot by power-drunk soldiers point-blank and prevented to be taken to hospital by family members.

A cousin of the late Oyegwu, Princess Natasha, who took to her twitter handle to lament the brutal killing, said that her cousin was shot on Monday, 26th June, 2023 during a protest organised by youths in the community against their chiefs, the BUA Cement Company and Dangote Cement.

Natasha said the young people were only protesting in the community against chiefs taking a cut of 40 percent from their monthly salaries.

She said until his death, he was a casual worker at the two cement factories in the community.

“Before he died he said ‘Someone pointed at me and the soldiers shot me’. He died at home. My cousin was a jovial person that is easy going. He enjoys life and does not deserve that kind of death. We want justice,” Natasha said.

Natasha further narrated in a tweet shared on her Twitter handle, @Nashbals, that the youths were protesting against the chiefs that are cutting 30,000 out of 80,000 from the Money they are being paid by cement companies in her village.

She wrote: “Saw my cousin (red jacket, yellow cap) in the village (Okpella, edo state) this past week when I went for my introduction. He’s super quiet but vibrant in his own way. I woke up this morning to news that he was shot yesterday by Nigerian soldiers.

“He’s not a cultist, he’s not a thief, he’s not a trouble maker. In fact, he was sitting in front of the house (where he always sits) when Nigerian soldiers shot him! You’re wondering why?

“He was among those that protested that the chiefs in the village were taking too much cut (30,000 out of 80,000), from the Money they are being paid by BUA or Dangote cement factory (not sure which) in my village.

“They protested and went home and in the night soldiers went round the village shooting the boys. The unbelievable part is that they sent letters to hospitals close by asking them not to attend to anyone from my village. What the hell? The mess that is Nigeria is staring at me right in the face and I don’t know how to react. How does someone like this get justice, please? How?

“They shot him in the thigh! He could’ve survived! But they surrounded the house and didn’t let anyone leave for a while. When they managed to leave, it was too late. He could’ve survived! He bled to death and the hospitals wouldn’t treat him. Why are soldiers going around shooting?

“I’m hoping that by tweeting this, I would create awareness and get to the right authorities. Something has to be done because the young people are helpless. It’s disheartening. I also just learnt from my aunt that he didn’t even go for the protest. He just works there!!!” She stated.

Another protester, who gave his name simply as Abanako, said the innocent man was his brother, Afoso, adding that he never participated in the protest.

Abanako, while demanding justice for his slain brother, said before embarking on the protest, the security agents including the soldiers and police were officially notified.

 He said, “My brother (Afoso) was not there when the protest was going on; when we staged a protest in the community last two months, the police and soldiers that came said we didn’t inform them before embarking on the protest. They said we should put it in writing if we want to protest and we notified them about this protest and even gave them the date of the protest.

“They agreed for us to do the protest. When we were doing the protest, we stopped those from other communities that wanted to go to work. Later, they mobilised soldiers, police, and NSCDC officials with guns and they started shooting at us. They shot many of our people and some of us ran away.

“Later, the soldiers returned and started shooting people again. We don’t know why because, at that point, we had already stopped the protest. And that was how they shot my brother who didn’t participate in the protest. We could not take him to the hospital because soldiers were everywhere, they (soldiers) threatened to shoot anybody they see outside, and that was when my brother died at home.”

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