People living with disabilities in Bayelsa state under the aegis of the Joint National Associations of People Living with disabilities – took to the streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Monday morning to protest for inclusion into the recent employment of one thousand graduates into the Bayelsa state civil service.
The aggrieved persons led by their State Acting Chairman, Comrade Erik Eric Ikilowei, blocked the entrance to Government House displaying placards of various inscriptions while requesting to speak with the Governor.
They resisted the security personnel at the gate daring them to kill them or for the governor to accede to their demands of employing their some if their members.
Addressing newsmen, the leader of the group, Comrade Eric Ikilowei stated:
“We are only demanding the employment of seven of our members who are graduates and this is not even up the 7% or more that should have been our constitutional quota and right!
“We have made our request known to the government on several fora but they still keep blank ears to our plight!
“We have as much right as our counterparts who are able indigenes. So we should not be short changed! We had embarked on several protests earlier to no avail.
“We are giving the government a week’s ultimatum to grant us employment or we shall come back by Monday for a bigger protest to shut down this government house and the whole state until our demands are granted.”
The protesters were addressed by some top government officials including the Aide De Camp, ADC, to the governor, House Committee Chairman on Appropriation and chief whip, Hon. Tonye Emmanuel Isenah and the Commissioner for Welfare and Social Development, Hon. Faith Opene who assured the protesters that their requests for employment have already been looked into and considered!
To confirm her statement of assurance the disabled persons put a phone call through to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, Dr. Peter Singabele, who told them that their letters of employment for seven of the disabled persons are already being worked out and settled!
He stated that they shall get the letters on Friday this week and that there was no need for the public unrest through protest.
About a sixty physically challenged persons took part in the protest which caused traffic gridlock in the Ovom axis of the state .