By Douglas Mojaye & Onome Oghenetega
At least three persons on Wednesday sustained gunshots injuries when hundreds of women protested against the two week extension on the COVID-19 lockdown by the Delta State government in Sapele Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that the victims, a woman and two youths, were shot by members of the vigilante group in the heat of the violence protest which rocked Sapele, one of the biggest and known town in the oil-rich Delta.
The victims are all alive and are said to be responding to treatment.
The women, who were protesting the two weeks lockdown and the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by Governor Ifeanyi, decried the insensitivity of the state government in tackling the raging hunger induced by the total lockdown in the state.
Governor Okowa had on Tuesday in a state-wide broadcast announced the extension of the total stay-at-home order while also similarly imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew to checkmate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Delta currently has three confirmed cases of the pandemic with one of the patients dying before the result of the test carried out on him could be released last week.
However, the women who were later joined by youths defiled the sit-at-home to hit the streets of Sapele where they lamented the economic hardship induced by the lockdown.
They also lamented that absence of palliative from the state government to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
The protesting women, who stormed the popular Olypia Roundabout in Sapele to vent their anger over the extension, urged the state government to revisit the decision of a total lockdown when the state government had recorded only three cases.
The protest was, however, hijacked by youths when the Sapele Council Chairman, Hon Eugene Inoaghan, was addressing the protesting women.
The hoodlums who hijacked the protest were alleged to have pelted the council chairman and other members of his entourage with stones when the situation turned violence leading to the tear-gassing of the protesters by police operatives.
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But in a bit to calm the situation and to disperse the youths, some vigilante members reportedly shot the three victims.
Hoodlums subsequently took advantage of the situation to invade shops where they allegedly carted away goods belonging to traders who were observing the lockdown.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onowakpoyeya, confirmed the violence protest, saying that some of the hoodlums had been arrested by the Sapele Area Command.