Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The people of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State yesterday assured Nigerians that there was no plan by the Niger Delta region to secede from Nigeria as being insinuated by some people.
They said the region was not at war with any institutions or the federal government but appealed to the United States of America Government to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to implement the 16-point demands presented by the Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF).
Speaking while receiving the United States Consul-General to Nigeria, Mr. John Bray, and his team at the palace of the monarch of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oboro-Gbaraun 11, Aketekpe, Agadagba, Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, yesterday said the people however maintained that government should pursue the commencement of the Nigeria Maritime University first in their demands.
The Gbaramatu people, in an address read by Chief Clark Gbenewei on behalf of the king, declared: “We want to assure the federal government and the international community, particularly the US that Gbaramatu kingdom or Niger Delta is not at war with Nigerian government.
“We are not at war and will never be at war, be it with institutions or the government neither do we have any plan to secede from Nigeria. We however appeal to the US to prevail on the federal government to look at issues we raised-issues of marginalisation, lack of development and others.”
The Gbaramatu people said part of the issues raised that were political should be solved politically for Nigeria to have enduring peace, particularly in the Niger Delta, and also, for government to provide the required revenue to enable the region finance the budget and effectively address the current recession.
Responding, the US Consul-General, Bray, said he was in the kingdom along with his team on a fact finding mission, urging them to continue to sustain peace in the region.
“We are here to see the situation on ground just like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo did about two weeks ago. We are here to see with our eyes and we want you to continue to maintain peace,” he added.
Bray was later conducted round the site of the Nigeria Maritime University site where he expressed happiness with the structures already in place.
At the oil rich kokodiagbene, which is considered the most peaceful community in the kingdom hosting over 100 flow stations with about 300 barrels of crude oil production per day, Bray urged them to continue to maintain peace as usual.
His plea came against the backdrop of series of complaints by the Chairman of the community, Sheriff Mulade, about the neglect of the area by Chevron Nigeria Limited and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and for lack of development of their area despite its peaceful disposition with all the oil assets in the area.
He however urged the US government to prevail on the federal government and the oil majors, particularly Chevron, to complete the shore-protection, reclamation and sand filling project started by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) but was abandoned.