Armed members of the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide on Thursday invaded the Rhythm FM radio station owned by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The angry youths, who stormed the studio in buses and other vehicles, were after two executive members of the IYC and guests of a live radio programme, Talk of the Town, anchored by Lishman Onisodemuya.
The youths, who invaded the station in their large numbers, caused panic as they released volley of gunshots into the air, forcing employees in both the radio and television studios of the Silverbird Group to scamper for safety.
The irate youths, who brandished other dangerous weapons, broke into the radio studio, interrupted the programme and dragged out the National Mobilisation Officer of IYC, Mr. Wisdom Ikuli, and a self-acclaimed spokesman for the council, Mike Edounkimor, who were guests of the programme.
It was learnt that the youths allegedly beat Ikuli and Edounkimor to stupour with bruises all over their faces.
The youths had allegedly attempted to bundle them (Ikuli and Edounkimor) into one of the vehicles but for the intervention of riot policemen who came in at the right time.
It was also learnt that before the arrival of the police, the mob had capitalised on the situation to rob employees of the studios of their money, mobile phones and other valuables.
The radio studio was temporarily shut down after listeners heard people screaming and running for cover.
But the policemen, who arrived the area, were said to have arrested and handcuffed the duo and taken them to the Ekeki Police Station in Yenagoa.
IYC was recently thrown into crisis following the claims of six out of the 10-member executive council that the IYC President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, and the council’s spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, had been suspended.
The document purportedly suspending Eradiri and Omare was signed by the National Secretary-General, Bristol-Alagbariye Emmanuel; Director of Mobilisation, Wisdom Ikuli; Legal Adviser, Ekine Egberekro; Assistant Secretary, Deinkoro George; National Women Leader, Felicia Ngeri and Financial Sercretary, Kemepado Alfred.
The aggrieved executive members accused Eradiri and Omare of highhandedness and financial misappropriation. They went further to claim that they had replaced Eradiri and Omare with Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo and Edounkimor respectively.
But the Speaker of IYC Mobile Parliament, Mr. Mkpon Ijonama said the persons bandying the suspension document failed to follow the procedures contained in Article 10 of the IYC constitution.
But trouble was said to have started on Thursday when Ikuli appeared on the programme to respond to issues raised by Eradiri, who on Wednesday, was a guest of the same programme.
Ikuli was said to have invited violence when he announced on radio that Eradiri and Omare had been removed and warned them to stop parading themselves as the President and spokesman for the IYC.
He also reeled out financial figures he claimed Eradiri collected on behalf of the council and diverted to his personal pocket.
Youths loyal to Eradiri, who heard the announcement and felt that their leader had been maligned, reportedly mobilised to the station to perpetrate the violence.
Though some persons claimed that Eradiri was also arrested at the scene of the violence by the police, others said he was absent, adding that he (Eradiri) was later invited to the office of the Commissioner of Police as a complainant.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident, saying that the command was handling the matter.