Author Archives: kelechi

Rivers crisis shameful, uncivilised – Oritsejafor

President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, on Sunday described the fracas in the Rivers State House of Assembly as shameful and uncivilised. The development, he said negated the principle of democracy, saying politicians must play the game to promote democratic values in the country. Oritsejafor stated this in an interview with journalists in Kaduna on Sunday. He also said the Islamic insurgent group, Boko Haram, was the second most violent terrorist organisation in he world, after the Taliban in the Middle East.

Oritsejafor said the political crisis in Rivers State had made Nigeria a laughing stock in the world, insisting that such an attitude could not promote democracy. He then appealed to the parties in the crisis in the Garden City to sheathe their sword to allow for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
The CAN president said he felt sad that those involved in the crisis were Christians, adding that it was not in the character of a good Christian to behave in such manner.

The CAN president said, “I feel terrible about happenings in Rivers State. I feel terrible for many reasons. I feel terrible because it is making Nigeria a laughing stock to the world. “I feel terrible because it is happening in the part of the country where I come from. I feel terrible because many of the actors are supposed to be Christians. “I feel sad because those involved in these things ought not to get themselves involved in these kinds of things at all.”

Warri North crisis: Itsekiri communities give govt 30-day ultimatum on killers

SAPELE— SEVEN Itsekiri communities affected in the July 2, 2013 unprovoked attack and arson by a band of Ijaw youths in Delta State, have given the Federal, Delta State and Warri North Local Governments a 30-day ultimatum to fish out the criminals or they would carry out reprisal on Ijaw suburbs in the area.

The seven Olero satellite communities at an emergency meeting in Sapele to deliberate on the mayhem unleashed on them by an Ijaw militia, Egbema Radical Group, ERG, further threatened to blow up oil installations in Niger Delta region, including the Chevron Nigeria Limited manifold in Olero creek if their ultimatum was not heeded.bThey said that the killing no fewer than 12 Itsekiri and burning of seven communities should not be taken as a trivial matter.

The communities also requested the council, state and Federal Governments to take steps to rehabilitate displaced persons in the affected villages and rebuild their burnt houses without further delay, if government wants peace in the region.

Representatives of the affected villages: Mr. Orighomisan Omatsuli (Jakpa Community); Mr. Augustine Dorsu, Aja-Amitan community; Mr. Tony Oweghoro, Ebrohimi community; Mr. Taye Olekowe, Gbokoda community; Mr. Godfrey Ofeyinor, Tebu community; Mr. Augustine Fuludu Obaghoro community; Mr. David Akpere, Udo community and chairman, Olero satellite communities, Mr. Victor Awowo told Vanguard that they were ready for a showdown with the Ijaw militants. They added that relief materials should be sent by the different tiers of government to the displaced people without further delay. The communities accused Joint military Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo shield of being insensitive, callous and negligent to the plight of Itsekiri people, who were killed during the crisis and insisted that the JTF men stationed in Olero creek and Chevron manifold facility, could have averted the carnage, if they wanted.

The people also condemned the attitude of the soldiers on duty around the Ajide Lagos Junction, where JTF has a house boat and two gun boats, saying “these soldiers would have averted the killing of five people in Eghoro community, which is just about 40 yards away from where the soldiers‘two gun boats were stationed. “It is the usual attitude of the soldiers to resume duty at the Olero creek Chevron manifold as well as the Lagos Ajide Junction every 5pm and close by 6am the following day, but on the day of the killings, the soldiers resumed much later and closed much earlier, thus not having the opportunity to avert the mayhem. “We have no other option than to take laws into our hands with actions of several and mightier consequences on oil installations that will attract attention of the three tiers of government if our demands are not met.”

Ijaw leaders wade into Warri North crisis

IJAW leaders from the Egbema axis and neighbouring clans in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State said they have waded into the recent violence to speedily nip it in the bud. High Chief Bibopere Ajube also agreed to use his extensive network to locate perpetrators of the attacks and disarm them. Condemning the attacks, Evang. Samson Fetimi, an Ijaw leader in the Benin-Rivers axis of the state, who is also from Warri North, urged the two ethnic groups in the council to always allow for dialogue.

Meanwhile, the Alpha May Club, an association of Itsekiri professionals resident in Lagos, has expressed shock and indignation over the recent attack by Ijaw elements on Itsekiri communities in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State. Alpha May said in a statement by its Chairman and Secretary that the senseless killings and wanton destruction of Itsekiri villages have again occurred in spite of efforts by Itsekiri to foster brotherly and neighbourly relationship among communities in the Niger Delta.

The statement said: “Alpha May Club wishes to stress that the Itsekiri are entitled to their place in the sun under the Nigeria Project. “We demand this, and therefore take this opportunity to respectfully call on Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and President Goodluck Jonathan to enforce the rule of law to prevent a re-occurrence of incessant bloodletting

Warri North: Uduaghan brokers truce between Ijaw/Itsekiri leaders

Stakeholders from Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have reached a truce over the crisis rocking the council area after a peace parley with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in which they reiterated their resolve to end the crisis. The stakeholders drawn from the warring Ijaw and Itsekiri communities in Warri North Council Area, said that the crisis which claimed well over 12 lives was not ethnic related but sheer criminality by some miscreants.

Speaking in turns, the leaders affirmed that some suspected miscreants who were into illegal oil bunkering activities in the area were the ones formenting trouble in the area to pave way for their continuous criminal activities unhindered and not a political struggle as erroneously being insinuated by some groups. They also reiterated their desire to boost cooperation between both ethnic nationalities and to help the State government overcome the challenges posed by the miscreants who usually forment trouble in the area.

Governor Uduaghan said that the peace parlay was part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s interventions to end the growing crisis. ”I want to assure you that Mr President is aware of what is going on and he has directed the security agents to be on top of the situation. If the federal and state government state is not doing anything, I bet you that the area would still be on fire by now, the governor said. He said: This is not the first time we are having ethnic crisis but this one is very unfortunate. This one has nothing to do with ethnic issues, it is sheer criminality”.

Uduaghan who piloted the meeting asked the stakeholders to bear their mind on the efforts exerted to forestall the violence and the various assistance rendered by the army and other security agents to nip the crisis in the bud. He recalled how Ijaw Egbema people met with him some time ago about the suppose issues of marginalization in respect to political and elective offices and how he told them that he has no control over elective and political offices in the State adding that he told them he was limited to only appointive positions.

“When we held meeting earlier with Egbema people, the issues raised were issues of political appointment and elective offices and I told them as a governor I have no control over elective offices and I suggested that a meeting should be called between the three Warri councils. And I told them that discussion wouldn’t be initiated by me (governor) because I was not a governor for Ijaw or Itsekiri alone”. ”But for appointment, I have just suggested an Ijaw man into a federal position from Warri North. I have no control over elective positions but for appointment within the State I can appoint anybody and we have so many positions line up including boards that are pending”.

Consequently, Uduaghan vowed that nobody can force him under gunpoint to do things arbitrarily in the State. ”Nobody can put a gun on my head to negotiate under duress. Nobody has two head, all of us has one but how we use the head matters and what has happened is that some people have decided to use their head negatively”. The governor also proscribed the Egbema Radical Group, a group which have been championing agitation over marginalization and “political imbalance” in Warri North Council.

The governor voiced appreciation for the efforts exerted by security agents, who were allegedly being blame for not responding on time to quell the crisis, saying logistic can never be enough when there are so many issues at hand to handle in the State. He also thanked leaders of Itsekiri communities who tried to curtail the youths not to retaliate the offensive as well as security agents for enhancing security and stability in the troubled council. Uduaghan who assured that the State government was on top of the situation said; “Now that the waterways is passable we would do a thorough assessment of things and the state government as well as DESOPADEC would assist the people affected. What we have achieved is that we have agreed that the crisis was an aftermath of criminality”.

Earlier, Warri North LGA Transition Committee Chairman, Evang David Edun narrated how the crisis started saying that about 15 persons were killed by the youths who also looted the communities.
An Ijaw leader, Chief Emmanuel Ebimami who spoke in turn condemned vehemently the actions of the Ijaw youths saying it is unacceptable to use the barrel of guns to agitate for council chairmanship position. ”No reasonable Ijaw man will say what has happened is good. So I stand firm to say that we condemned it. We are making sure that this problem doesn’t escalate further, he added.

Addressing the meeting, an Itsekiri youth leader, Chief Ayeri Emami asserted the security lapses by the army during the crisis saying if the army had heed to intelligence report avail to them, the perpetrator would have been nipped before the crisis.
“We have to differential criminal activities from political struggle. That’s how we were able to resolve the seven years Warri crisis. We identified the problem during Warri crisis and we used the security agents to deal with it. We told security agents before today of the intelligent report but the army didn’t act on time. So they lapses came from the army and our people”. Also speaking, another Itsekiri leader, Chief Michael Diden opined that the problem in Warri North is a very critical one and if it is not tackled holistically, the crisis will reoccur. He reiterated that the Warri North crisis was not as result of political issues in the area but issues relating to oil theft and hooliganism. ”It is not a political struggle but ploy to continue their criminality- that’s oil bunkering. It is about criminal tendency to steal oil”.

An Ijaw youth leader, Ezekiel Akpasebowei, who was a militant leader in Egbema Warri North before the amnesty days, ruled out the political agitation by the Egbema people as cause of the crisis saying the group of ‘boys’ who perpetrated the crime act in the Council area have been terrorising the area before now and they have since been reported to law enforcement agencies. He therefore disassociated the Egbema people of Warri North Council area from the killings and burning down of houses in the Itshekiri communities saying that the perpetrators of the crisis have been a threat to the area even before the last week fracas. ”This ‘boys’ have being a threat to us. These are the ‘boys’ involved in oil bunkering, sea piracy and all sort of criminalities in the waterways. They have ones called to threat me that I should run for my life that I betrayed them. They seized some of my oil surveillance workers, detained them for three days”. ”They are out to make the council ungovernable. The Egbema people don’t support any of them. They are criminals. They (security agents) should fish them out if not our lives are in danger. They have been threatening us and our families, Akpasebowei said.

Responding, the Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba said that the security agents were committed to ensuring security of lives and properties in the State saying that though logistic is a problem conforming the policing of the State. He, consequently, suggested for the establishment of navy base in the waterways in Warri North as well as strengthening of the police, army, air force and navy in the State with functional working apparatus. ”We cannot allow criminality to thrive. We know the creek is a difficult terrain and we know it. We want boats that are functional. We need to establish a navy based around that area. Some of the navy gunboats are not functional and all these retard security”, he added.

On his part, the Commanding Officer, 4th Brigade, Benin, Brig-Gen Patrick Ake, exerted the efforts of the Commanding Officer of 19 Brigade of Sector 1 of the JTF situated in Koko, Lit-Col Frank Etim in nipping the crisis, first with the capturing of a militant camp some few months ago in the area and series of arrest made saying the violence would have be more dangerous if the militant camp was not earlier destroyed. He said therefore that it was not true that soldiers didn’t respond on time to the crisis saying “soldiers make a lot of sacrifices. So I want to disabuse our mind about the allegation, he said

LG boss seeks assistance for victims of Ijaw attack

KOKO—THE transition Chairman of Warri Local Government Area, Delta State, Evangelist David Edun, has solicited assistance in form of food, money and other relief materials from donor agencies, especially the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, State Emergency Relief Agency, SERA, as well as humanitarian organisations and well-meaning Nigerians over the recent crisis in the riverine communities.

According to him, the assistance was to meet the huge financial costs involved in rehabilitating the victims of the crisis, during which some groups of armed Ijaw youths attacked and razed several Itsekiri towns and villages with well over 12 persons killed and many people still missing.
Edun made the call in Koko, when he played host to the member representing Warri North Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Mrs. Irene Imilair, who visited the council boss on a fact finding mission on the recent attacks.

Narrating his ordeal, after the crisis, Evangelist Edun said that he had lost sleep since the crisis broke out on July 2, stressing that he was eager to see the situation return to normal.
The council boss also praised the spirited effort of the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, whom he described as a father, mentor and lover of lives.bHe said: “The governor wasted no time in banning all fast moving speed boats to check further attacks on communities by the armed gang after which he convened a security meeting of all stakeholders including the Joint Task Force, JTF, and other security agencies in the state.”

Edun told Imilair that with the massive security build-up in Benin River, the waterways are now safer as residents now go about their lawful business, noting that the fishermen were gradually going back to their fishing business.