•Calls on FG to abort plan
There have been tension and disillusionment among the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State as residents faces gale of mass relocation to cities over fear of yet another invasion, stressing that they have become endangered species in their own land.
This was made known to Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper by residents of the Kingdom who alleged that the notice becomes necessary as invasion is gradually returning before the very eyes of the people.
They further maintained that the Kingdom is now a shadow of itself as people are massively moving out on a daily basis for fear of the unknown, noting that they are not members of Niger Delta Avengers neither are they harbouring them and wondered why invasion will be a reoccurring decimal in Gbaramatu.
THE SITUATION IN OPOROZA COMMUNITY
The situation in Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State has become a ghost town as residents expressed grave concern on their very survival as a people that have experienced too many invasions
Speaking to Gbaramatu Voice was the Chairman of Oporoza Community Mr. Johnbull Demebi who bears his mind on the looming danger affirmed that there is indeed such report of invasion while calling on the government to abort such plan if there is realistically any.
“Yes people are packing out of my community as I speak with you because every time there is rumor of invasion, it always come to pass, even myself that is the community chairman, I can’t guarantee anyone’s safety.
“There is also this disturbing report that the military is about to come to our Kingdom to train their military personnel on the Warfare of military tactics, we begin to wonder why our Kingdom has to be such target. The Government have to stop whatever plan of invasion and testing their military equipments in our communities ” Demebi asserted.
Also speaking was Pst. Bekenawei Ezekiel, a resident of the said community, he begs the federal government not to go ahead with the plan of using the Kingdom as a training ground for the military while noting that there are other places in the Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria to have tested their techniques as he wonders on the choice of Gbaramatu.
According to Pst. Ezekiel “The report that soldiers are coming to invade Oporoza again has caused a lot of panic among residents of the community as many have traveled out of the town, I am a pastor that resides here, I have witnessed several invasions of this community and indeed the Kingdom, this is not really ideal, we specifically heard a report that they will be coming on Saturday. Sister communities even saw fierce looking security boats approaching Oporoza earlier, that alone scared many people as some of my church members have also left the town. My message to the Government is that they should please leave Oporoza alone, we are peace loving people, although we heard on the news that they are coming to train their military personnel here, our position is that, they should take their training elsewhere, there are other Rivers in Niger Delta, Nigeria and not here ”
LIFE IN OKERENKOKO
The situation here is also not different as indigenes are allegedly said to be scampering for their lives to avoid a repeat of what they have allegedly experienced in the Kingdom in what they described as “bainkedi best”
Comr. Earnest Bebenimibo, the Executive Secretary of Okerenkoko Community on his part alleged that members of the settlement are in great danger as they have become endangered species over fear of the military.
He stated that the Kingdom is not a military barrack or base to test military exercise while suggesting that they should redirect their training to their bases and not in their allegedly peaceful Kingdom.
Earnest further argued that if the military is to deploy troops to anywhere it should be the North East region where heavy war is taking place and not Gbaramatu.
In his words: “It is indeed true that there is a report of the military coming to our Kingdom to test their military might, the point is that our people are in grave fear as we are rejecting the exercise in its entirety, our Kingdom is not a military barrack or base to run any test of weaponry, they have their bases to carryout whatever military exercise they wish to carryout, why our peaceful communities? We are at war with no one, if the military is to deploy their forces to anywhere, it should be the North East that is battling with the Boko Haram sect and not us. We vehemently oppose this move by the Federal Government as we instead urge them to look into the dialogue window to see what will come out of it”
The story is the same in this community as residents have also been reported jetting out of it over the news of impending invasion.
A resident of the community Mr. Roland Thomas, accuses the Federal Government of training soldiers at Sapele, in Delta State for the invasion, he stated that the news of invasion is everywhere while adding that military destruction of the Kingdom is not a viable option in ending current upsurge in the Niger Delta, as he urged the federal government to discontinue such plan as it will send a bad signal to ongoing processes of dialogue.
Speaking further, Mr. Roland pinpointed “The news is everywhere that soldiers are coming to invade our communities again, we have said it severally that we are not Avengers and do not harbour them, we also heard that the Soldiers are in Sapele undergoing training to come and invade us, people are so scared of what happened in 2009, as it is still very fresh in our minds. Invasion should not be the most viable option that will guarantee peace, the government should discontinue such plan as it will do us no good ”
Meanwhile reports coming in from Benikrukru, Kokodiagbene, Azama, Tebujor, Kenyagbene, Opudebubor, and other communities in the kingdom are not different.
However, various stakeholders in the Niger Delta region have called on the President not to use military approach in ending the onslaught against critical national assets in the region while proffering meaningful dialogue as the most viable option.
But the military has debunked the claim of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, saying it’s a false alarm and just a figment of the imagination of some individuals.Director of Defence Information, (DDI) Brig-Gen Rabe Abubakar told newsmen on phone that with the ongoing negotiation between the Federal Government and the militants, it would be out of place for the military to deploy its men to the area.
He explained that the presence of military planes in the Nigerian airspace, especially now that there is general insecurity in the country, is not to scare anybody, but to assure the Nigerian people of the safety of their lives and properties.
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