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Demonstrations trail Niger governor’s local councils tour


Gov. Sani Bello

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello’s tour of local councils started on a sad note yesterday, as the people of the state protested against power failure, lack of good roads, potable water and other dividends of democracy.

Thousands of youths and some elders welcomed the governor to Sarkin Pawa in Munya Local Council with protests, as he began the second phase of the councils’ tour in the state.

The protesters, who lined the road when the governor was traveling to Munya and Shiroro local councils, carried placards with inscriptions such as: We Don’t Have Water, We Don’t Have Light, and others.

They also lamented the high level of insecurity such as kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in the localities.

However, security men on the governor’s entourage, which included soldiers, men of the Department of State Service (DSS), prevented the protesters from blocking the road.

At Sarkin Pawa, the headquarters of Munya Local Council, the protesting youths, mostly members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), attacked the council chairman in the presence of the governor, but the security officers saved from being mobbed.

The Guardian learnt that the APC youths were protesting against lack of government presence in their area, joblessness and insecurity, but the security agents arrested some of them.

Governor Bello, however, promptly directed his Commissioner for Works, Balarabe Kagara to find solution to the power outage in the area.

When contacted, media aide to the governor, Jide Orintunsin, said the protest was not a negative one, adding that under democracy, people were allowed to express their feelings in a democratic manner.

He said government was already moving to resolve the protesters’ demands in the area of roads, electricity and water supply.

Orintunsin, however, said the presence of military, police, DSS personnel on the governor’s entourage was not an indication of lack of popularity, saying he did not need all the security men as a popular governor.

He denied rumours that angry youths in Kuta, headquarters of Shiroro Local Council, pelted Governor Bello with stones.

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