- Accuses Bonny Council of Chiefs, NLNG of sidelining them
By Sam Ekpe
The Jumbo Major House of Grand Bonny Kingdom in the Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, Thursday protested what they termed ‘exclusion’ from the recently flagged-off Bodo/Bonny Road Project, jointly funded by the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, in Bonny LGA.
They accused the Bonny Council of Chiefs and NLNG of surreptitiously master-minding the plot to sideline the Jumbo Major House, which claims the most impacted and the largest cluster community in the said project,
Leader of the Group and Head of the Jumbo Major House, Chief Jasper F. Jumbo, who hailed the federal government for “such a gigantic and laudable project which the Bonny people had long desired”, wondered why the Jumbo Major House would be deliberately excluded from the flag-off even after receiving a formal invitation from the Office of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing,
Prof. Jumbo, who regretted the Jumbo Major House exclusion, alleged that the move was a calculated and further attempt to deny them their God-given rights in Bonny LGA.
He alleged: “Some members of the titled citizens came and informed me that the Chairman of Bonny Council of Chiefs, Se Alabo Claude Wilcox, gathered the titled citizens and told them that one Ogoni Chief and I went to the federal government regarding the road and they did not receive us, which is a blatant lie. One of the Titled Citizens who knew that I had been pushing for this road since 2000.
“The Ministry said they had forwarded our names to NLNG and the Federal Controller of Works in Port Harcourt, Engr Nebolisa confirmed that they forwarded our names, but we found out that NLNG at the instance of Godson Dienye, just gave people from Ogoni four invitations, and also gave people from Andoni but those of us here who are even the most impacted primary stakeholders did not get, because, perhaps the Jumbo Major House is in court with NLNG over our land they secretly obtained a C of 0 on.
“All I did as a core development protagonist and tested leader in Bonny and Niger Delta, a pro-government person, was to mobilize my people in solidarity support for the project. I printed banners in its support with various inscriptions. What is simply happening is that the Bonny Council of Chiefs and the NLNG do not want us — the Jumbos to be a part of this project, which vastly traverses Jumbo land in Bonny.”
Jasper Jumbo said the House under his leadership would maintain propriety in support of the project, while exploring all peaceful and lawful means in seeking redress.
Speaker of Ijaw Youth council Mobile Parliament and President of Andoni Youths Coalition, Comrade Mkpon Ijonama, while reacting, described the situation as sad, lamenting that it was against natural Justice for an impacted cluster community like the Jumbos to be excluded from a project that directly affects them. The Ijaw Youths spokesman, who debunked the allegation that they were there to stage a protest against the project or carry placard for modular refinery accused NLNG of applying oil politics of divide and rule in Ijaw land.
Also speaking, President of Bonny Indigenous Guide (BIG), Owunabo Brown, expressed shock that while his group had mobilized to receive the federal government to Bonny Island, the Bonny Council of Chiefs colluded with NLNG to shut them and other critical Stakeholders out of the event, noting that such action was not in the interest of Bonny people or peace.
On his part the Chairman of Village Heads of Jumbo Major House, Pastor George Sunju Jumbo, condemned their exclusion, insisting that the Jumbos have a right to benefit in what comes on their land, claiming that a large stretch of the road runs through mostly Jumbo communities. President of the Jumbo Major House Youths, Comrade Dagogo A. Jumbo, described their exclusion as an aberration and embarrassment, adding that such move was provocative and unacceptable.
He however, enjoined Jumbo youths not to take laws into their hands or breach the peace in the area, disclosing that the Jumbo Major House under the leadership of Professor Jumbo had resolved to peacefully take appropriate steps in addressing the matter through Federal Government Agencies.