The protesters had given prior notice to the Police before their protest.
The Police in Bayelsa on Tuesday arrested 30 unemployed graduates for participating in a mass protest in Yenagoa over lack of job opportunities in the state.
Scores of youths, mostly unemployed graduates, had earlier trooped to the streets in Yenagoa, protesting what they described as the high rate of unemployment in the state.
However, policemen from the Bayelsa State Police Command used tear gas to disperse the protesters.
The protesting youth were arrested at Yenizue-Gene in Yenagoa by teams of policemen and operatives of the state-owned security outfit, ‘Operation Doo Akpo’.
Among those arrested were five leaders of the protesting youths. Those arrested were detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department and underwent interrogation for their roles in the protest.
Numbering over 150, the unemployed graduates staged a peaceful protest in the state capital over the State Government’s alleged neglect and insensitivity to their plights. They had earlier given a 30-day ultimatum to Governor Seriake Dickson to lift the embargo on employment into the civil service to absorb them.
The protesters, under the aegis of Unemployed Graduates Forum of Bayelsa, claimed they had made efforts to meet with some top government officials to resolve the crisis. They said their efforts were fruitless as the one-month ultimatum given to the government to create 20,000 jobs for jobless graduates had lapsed without a shift in position by the government.
There was stampede at the Yenizue-Gene area of Yenagoa as the police sent reenforcements to the area with about 10 vans and arrested over 30 persons while the rest fled.
The protesters, who were dressed in white T-shirts with inscriptions, “We need jobs”, “Give us jobs”, said they would not be intimidated by the arrest of their members.
The spokesperson of protesters, Anthony Joseph, a mechanical engineering graduate, said that they had notified the Bayelsa State Police Command Command of the protest three weeks earlier.
“We are fighting a just cause, most of our graduates have been unemployed for between five, seven years and 10 years. We have met the Commissioner for Science and Technology and other top government functionaries in the state on the need to create jobs for us but all efforts proved abortive. Government should come and ameliorate our plight. We are pleading with government to create jobs for us. They should release our detained members,” Mr. Joseph said.
The Public Relations Officer of the Bayelsa State Police Command,Alex Akhigbe, confirmed the arrest of the protesters, saying they were being interrogated. Mr. Akhigbe recalled that the group had informed the Police Command of their protest but said that the permit was not granted.