There are indications that the Edo State Government have decided to relocate the Gelegele Seaport from its hitherto location to some other area close to the present spot on account of the deluge of complaints and petitions especially emanating from some people of Ijaw extraction.
Also GbaramatuVoicegathered that the name of the seaport may have been changed to Benin Deep Seaport by the state government based on the same consideration.
A source who prefer anonymity and who is conversant with the issues at stake disclosed that “of recent the Edo State Government under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki has decided to do it alone. Most of what is going on now as regards the Gelegele Seaport Project is now shrouded in utmost secrecy as we (the Ijaws) have not been told anything or consulted.
“All we see now is that Governor Godwin Obaseki comes here (Gelegele) he is accompanied by a battalion of well armed and battle ready soldiers with a few Ijaw saboteurs piloting them.
“Based on this, we have decided to do ‘siddon look’. Let’s see how far they can go on the project. We wish them all the best in their endeavours. We have no hard feelings towards them.
“For the saboteurs in our midst who the government uses to facilitate certain policies against our people, we wish them all the best. The day of reckoning will soon be here when every person will have to pay for their misdeeds.”
It would be recalled that recently a group, the Ijaws of Edo State Emancipation Movement (IESEM), Gelegele Seaport wrote a petition on what they called “Issues Arising With Regards to the Rights of Host Communities of Gelegele Seaport Project.”
In the petition, the IESEM stated inter alia “The delicate nature of the location site of the Gelegelegbene Seaport makes it imperative for the Edo State Government to release the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) report to the general public.
“The physical existence and livelihood of millions within the situate and proximate communities will surely be affected, the delicate ecosystem of the Niger Delta is also in the balance, steps must be taken to avert tipping the balance.
“The rights issues of the host communities must adequately be addressed also.
“The Edo State Government past and present has never deemed it fit to consult the Ijaw Kingdoms in Edo State with regards to appropriating its lands and resources for the benefits of the Oba of Benin and the Edoid speaking people of the state with total exclusion of the Ijaws, a modern day apartheid system within the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The economic viability of Edo State is premised on the resources derived from the five Ijaw Kingdoms; Olodiama, Okomu, Furupagha, Gbarain and Egbema. The Ijaw Kingdoms have always been distinct and existed long before the formation of the Benin Kingdom, never were we part of the Benin Kingdom and we will never be.”
Observers predict that all these wrangling may setback the expected fortune derivable from the project which if completed is estimated to generate billions of naira in revenue to the purse of the government.