Scores of youths of Agbala community in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, on Friday shut down all administrative and non administrative activities at Anambra /Imo River Basin Authority, Owerri over alleged secret employment exercise going on currently at the complex.
The host community youths who carried placards with various inscriptions such as “You cannot embark on creation of jobs without carrying our youths along, we demand fair share of employment quota” among others, chased the staff of the authority out of their offices and caused major traffic gridlock on the ever busy Owerri – Aba expressway expressway.
Accusing the Authority of carrying out secret employment exercise, the embittered youths, regretted that despite donating their hectares of land for siting the government agency the community had yet to benefit from it in terms of human development.
The spokesperson for the protesting youths who addressed newsmen, Jonathan Achoro, accused the authority of taking their peaceful disposition for granted.
He alleged that despite their community giving out their hectares of land to the Basin Authority in 1977, for free, the community had yet to benefit from the job opportunities and contracts it awards.
Achoro, said ” few years ago, the youth wing of our community with the consent of the leadership of our community compiled list of ingenious youths of Agbala and forwarded it to the management of the Basin Authority for consideration in event of job vacancies, but as we speak, they have embarked on secret employment exercise, abandoning our list “.
He said that out of the 50 applicants the Basin Authority had short listed for employment opportunities, none of them was an indigene of the community, prompting the youths to embark on the mass protest.
The Traditional ruler of the community, Eze Malachy Onu, condemned the basin Authority for allegedly shortchanging the community and abandoning the agreement reached with the community in 1977 in their recruitment processes.
The traditional ruler said “Agbala community donated 310 hectares of land for the establishment of the Anambra /Imo River basin Authority in 1977 with the hope that the Agency will help develop our community by creating job opportunities, sponsoring of community projects and other development oriented programs, but to no avail “.
Eze Onu, called on the federal government to call the management of the basin Authority to order and respect the agreement reached with the community about four decades ago which he noted was in tandem with global best practices .
When contacted , the public Relations officer of the Basin Authority, Mr Chidi Amaliri, said that he can’t comment on the issue and referred our correspondent to the managing Director.