Calls on Buhari to withdraw troops
Says Governor Okowa should play his role
Appeals to militants to end bombings
Following the alleged ransacking of communities and stationing of military houseboat in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, the Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom have cried out over alleged military brutality.
Chief Gbenekama made the accusation at Warri in a Press Statement signed and disseminated to newsmen while condemning the positioning of military houseboat at the waterfront of Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of the Kingdom, stressing that Gbaramatu have suffered too much in the hands of the Nigerian military.
The Chief mobiliser particularly frowned at what he described as alleged disrespect to the traditional institution of the Gbaramatu people, according to him, while security forces respect traditional rulers in other parts of the country, the case in the Niger Delta particularly in Gbaramatu Kingdom is not so.
He however, lamented on the deteriorating scheme of things in the Kingdom, alleging that the average living condition of the people has been gravely hampered, stating that they are no longer free in their land. “Our right of living is also impeded because of the siege as those who do not have identified cards can not dare into the river, While Fulani herdsmen would travel from the north to the south even with guns without harassments not to talk of having any form of identification .The cow is his identity card while the paddle, canoe, fishing net, etc can not be used to identify a fisherman from the Niger Delta. “Different stroke for different folks”
The Chief mobiliser also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to withdraw troops stationed strategically within the Kingdom, while also appealing to Governor Okowa to play his role by wading into the militarization of the Kingdom.
The leader also appeals to militants to end the bombings by giving peace a chance, stating that they should all await the outcome of the issues presented to the President by the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
The statement read in part “On the 5th of November, military personel invaded Okpele-ama/Tebujor communities and arrested two people. As if that is not enough, detachments of two military houseboats were sent to the waterfront of Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom on the 7th of November, 2016.
“If the reason for the presence of the military men and their houseboat is for the protection and surveillance of oil facilities, one wonders the reason behind the stationing of houseboats at the waterfront of Oporoza. This is because the position were these houseboats are, have no pipeline nor oil facilities.
“What then is the reason behind stationing military houseboats in the waterfront of Oporoza, except, for the purpose of making money for some generals whose business it is to ensure that the crisis in the Niger Delta persist for them to make more money.
“While the government has a duty to safeguard the nation’s critical assets, such must be done within the confines of the law.” Chief Godspower asserted.
In his words: “A situation were military men terrorize defenseless citizens in the name of protection of oil pipeline is not acceptable. If the military do not want to partner citizens in their efforts to protect oil facilities, we do not mind but they should not hold the indigenes responsible.”
It added “The Nigerian security forces do not regard some people as humans; their kings are treated with disdain. How can you be coming to a king’s domain without seeking the traditional ruler’s co-operation? For the traditional ruler of Gbaramatu, this has been his lot.
“When Ese Oruru was abducted, for the police to arrest the man who was accused of abducting her, because she was in the Emir of Kano’s domain, the Emir was waited for him to return from his trip to south Africa before the security agents could act, but for the Niger Delta rulers the opposite is the case.
“The military would not even mind even if they desecrate their ancestral shrine. What a nation were a different canon is used to rule the Hausa/Fulani north and a different one for the South-South especially the Niger Delta people.
“The Gbaramatu people keyed into the PANDEF dialogue process with the belief that government would show good faith by doing everything within its powers to ensure peace and harmony, but a situation where government security forces are more interested to ensure that the crisis in the Niger Delta region remains so that they can make money from it is regrettable.
“Have those in authority tried to find out the end beneficiaries of the houseboats that are hired by the military? Has anybody asked the reason why despite the various house boats strategically positioned, it has not stopped the militants from striking if they so desire, most time a few meters from the military houseboats. Yet these military men would ask for identity cards from even old fishermen, failure to produce would earn them an arrest, brutalization and sometimes killing.
“This inhuman treatment must stop if we must go on with the dialogue process. The Gbaramatu people are getting to the end of their perseverance elasticity, the moment to snap is very close as was witnessed by the military when they went back to Okpele-ama /Tebujor communities a third time in two days and the women rallied and met them at the water front which made them to leave the communities.
“We in the Gbaramatu Traditional Council are afraid because our plea for call seems not to be yielding any reciprocation from the military hierarchy instead they give fire for water.
“What does this government want from the Gbaramatu people? I think the presence of military men and their houseboat has become another conduit pipe through which government funds are siphoned. Somebody somewhere is using the hiring of houseboats as business for his or her daily bread.
“The explanation of the military acting on intelligence is not tenable. If they must protect their facilities, let the military go to where their oil facilities are, so that we can once again live in peace. Beside they are heating the populace. President Buhari should withdraw his soldiers and their houseboats from our communities, the state government also have a role to play. I plead with the people to still exercise some patience so as to give government to do the needful.
“To the leaders and Kings of the Niger Delta, I plead with you to come to the aid of the Niger Delta people, we might think that is not my kingdom, let them carry their cross, but know it that Gbaramatu Kingdom is under siege, we can not always bear the brunt of the whole region and yet when the benefits of our suffering comes we do not see the understanding desired.
“The Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko school Bill which Senator James Manager presented without consultation and lobbying which was opposed by even fellow south south senator is a case at this point.
“The least you can do is to speak up. I remembered that those who opposed the dialogue with the Niger Delta people were the ones scrambling for front seat in the Abuja parley with the President. We must shun all forms of hypocrisy. Those holding political offices in the Niger Delta should also seat, there is a serious IDP situation in Gbaramatu kingdom. Seating in your palatial houses in Abuja and other states capital without concern for the dying people of Gbaramatu Kingdom is a misnomer.
“The international community should also come to our aid, we are dying. The right to education has been taken away from the people of Gbaramatu because most of our schools are the target of intimidation by the military.” It stated.