Neglect Has Cut Us from Delta Capital, Oko Community Monarch Cries Out


Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Traditional ruler of Oko community in Oshimili North Local Government Area, HRM Eze Obi Osita 1, has sent an SOS to the Delta State Government for intervention in rehabilitation of the major road through the community which is in very deplorable condition.

Osita 1 said that it was difficult to tell that Oko as a suburb of Asaba was supposed to be part of the state capital territory due to the neglect of the area particularly the abandonment of the only main road.

The royal father noted that although Oko occupies a gateway position for national oil and power facilities, which should have qualified it for intervention by the Federal Government, the area has remained neglected and several reported plans to construct the roads have clearly been abandoned.

Lamenting the state of the major road through the community, the monarch said that the situation of obvious neglect had become more pronounced as all the roads in the neighboring communities on the other bank of River Niger in Anambra State are tarred and vehicle-friendly.

HRM Eze Obi Osita 1 said, “This is a road that the minimum level of government commitment is not felt. Ordinarily, it should have been a Federal Government road because of the nature of the terrain, knowing what it would cost to construct. The question is, how long should Oko remain like this?Oko that has her immediate neighbours in other states like Anambra State on the eastern bank of the road tarred, all the way from Onitsha stretching to Atani, the local government headquarters and extended up to Akili-Ogidi after Osamala town.”

He explained in an interview with newsmen in Asaba, “Oko kingdom is made up of six communities starting with Oko-Amakom, Oko-Obiokpu, Oko-Anala, Oko-Ogbele,Umuoko an Odifulu. Odifulu is the last town within Oko kingdom, but shares boundary with Ndokwa East at Abala-Oshimili.

“This road in Oko kingdom is a stretch of about 56 kilometres passing Utchi, Ubo in Ndokwa East. The road is the biggest challenge Oko kingdom in Oshimili South local government has; the entire people that live along the river Niger between the western bank up to Utchi and beyond.

“Through this particular un-tarred road that passes Oko kingdom, you can access okapi Independent Power Plant, IPP project of Agip Company commissioned some years ago that is still generating electricity at Obosi in Anambra state. It is a very important national project that ordinarily, would have fetched us this road. The Nigerian Agip project at Okpai, ordinarily would have been used as a golden opportunity for government to construct this road for us.

He therefore appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the federal government to rescue his people from neglect, saying they have been suffering numerous social and economic deprivation because the area has become almost inaccessible by motor vehicles.

The royal father stated that the state and the country as a whole stand to gain a lot from the proper opening up of Oko kingdom because of the economic potentials of the area including agriculture.

He lamented that the cattle herdsmen traversing the community used to be peaceful and conducted themselves well without carrying arms.

Speaking on the issue, HRM Osita I said, “At the Oko junction we have cow market with the arrangement with the local government to provide grazing land for them, but sometimes they encroach, destroying people’s lives sometimes threatening lives. People have been rearing cows in those days without this problem, so why is it now that people are disguising as Fulani herdsmen whereas they are in for evil things?

“Even on the course of herdsmen moving their cattle from one place to the other with sophisticated weapons, I start wondering how such ammunition get to them. Most times, if our people go to the bush to chase them away from their farms, they still insist and you see them with AK 47 riffles and the rest of them. Definitely, nobody will say they were given licenses for those riffles, which are a national challenge.