38—Niger-Delta Voice, TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018 VOL. 1: NO. 169 CROSS RIVER…THE PEOPLE'S PARADISE By IKE UCHECHUKWU ETAP AYIP—THE land dispute between the people of Etap Ayip, Kasuk Qua Clan II and Ikot Ansa, both in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area, Cross River State, has exacerbated with the latest incursion and destruction of over 2,000 palm trees, raffia palms and other economic trees on the contentious swampy acreage by attackers numbering over 40, supposedly from the latter community. Clan head of Kasuk II, Ntoe Edem Ayito, who spoke to NDV, said: “The people of Ikot Ansa are our neighbours, but they have made life difficult by disobeying a court order restraining them from entering the swamp. For flouting an order restraining them from entering the swamp which was giving in a suit No: HC/242/ 2017, our people sued them for contempt which they have also disobeyed. “They have gone back to the place without minding that there was a matter instituted against them for contempt, now they have destroyed another 2000 economic trees, I am a law-abiding citizen, my subjects are responsible people, but I do not know how long I and my council of chiefs can stop our people from reacting. “A number of arrests were made and the people who were arrested named their sponsor, who is also facing a contempt charge as we speak. We hope that their action will not cause a breach of peace in Calabar Municipal Local Government because what they are doing to us through that swamp is a threat to our very existence,” he asserted. That swamp is our oil well The clan head disclosed: TUESDAY, , MARCH CH 6, 2018 18 Tension worsens between 2 C’River towns over land •As 40 suspected thugs destroy over 2,000 palm trees, raffia palm on disputed terrain •Livelihood of over 200 families under threat •Clan head calls on Gov Ayade, Police, others to intervene Entrance of Etap Ayip, Kasuk Iiqua Clan “More than 200 families, among them palm wine tappers and palm oil millers, depend on that swamp; a lot of people pay their children's school fees from the proceeds from that swamp. That swamp is our own oil well, a lot of economic activities have been halted because of the constant destruction of the source of livelihood in my domain and we just do not know how long we can bear such.” Ayade, security agencies should intercede “A lot of my people are afraid, the damages from the first destruction was valued at N140 million but they still went back to the said swamp land to cause more destruction. We want to believe that the authorities are watching, they are aware because we reported the matter appropriately and two people were also arrested before the matter was later transferred to Police headquarters. “We are calling on Governor Ben Ayade, Commissioner of Police and heads of other security agencies to look into this matter before it degenerates into a communal clash that could lead to breach of peace, loss of lives and *Governor Ben Ayade property if not properly managed,” he said. Crisis might explode- Umoh Counsel to Kasuk II Qua Clan, Orchardson Umoh Esq. said: “They went in there (swamp land) with nothing less than 40 thugs recently, cutting down about 2,000 palm trees, including raffia. What do you expect my clients to do, wait till they die of starvation? The people of Ikot Ansa without waiting for judgment have shown no regard for the law and the court with their actions, which is a complete disregard for the law; they are directly compelling my clients (Kasuk II Qua Clan) to take up arms to defend their property,” he noted. “For now, we have shown that we are law-abiding, but their action is literally forcing us to take up arms and we can have an explosion of communal war. For now also, we have relied on the police and court. We have refused to use violence to protect the property. They are human, you may be able to restrain some members of the community but you cannot restrain all. Some individuals might decide to take arms to defend their property, even without the knowledge of their leaders,” he said. Umoh told NDV: “We want the police and the courts to take note because by the time they decide to take up arms, you can imagine the lives and property that will be lost and affected, and we pray that government will intervene to avert this problem from degenerating into a communal war. “Supposing the court decides the place belongs to the people of Kasuk II Qua clan with this kind of destruction, how will they now enjoy the judgment which they might eventually get? This is why all parties need to apply caution and wisdom to avert an impending danger,” he added. Ikot Ansa refutes attack An Ikot Ansa leader contacted by NDV said the community had no knowledge of the alleged destruction by the people of Etan Ayip. Police will arraign culprits in court— Inuwa Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, who also spoke with our reporter, asserted: “If it has been verified that there is a case of contempt already in court, all those arrested in that land should be charged to court as soon as possible as the police will not tolerate any form of breach of the peace that can lead to loss of lives and property.” DELTA…BIG HEART OF THE NATION U DU—SPECIAL Assistant, SA, Community Development to the Governor of Delta State, Olorogun Vincent Oyibode, has traded his private Nissan Pathfinder Jeep for N1.2 million to enrich his Ward constituents in Udu Local hundred thousand naira) only Government Area of the state. until December before I Olorogun Oyibode in a report received my salary.” on his 100 days in office, The special assistant, who addressed to the state was appointed September, last governor, Senator Ifeanyi year, said he was instrumental Okowa, said: “Due to my to the recent decamping of the desire to work, to reflect the former House of Assembly presence of the Senator candidate of the Democratic Okowa-led government in People's Party and Udu, particularly in my Ward, chairmanship candidate of the I sold my Nissan Pathfinder Labour Party, Barrister Fred Jeep, 2004 Model for N1, Oghioragbephan to the 200,000.00 (one million, two People's Democratic Party. Gov Okowa’s aide sells own car to empower constituents His words: “I have been able to reach out to members of other political parties in Udu. Most significantly, the former House of Assembly candidate of the DPP and chairmanship candidate of the Labour Party, Barr. Fred Oghioragbephan has decamped to PDP with all his loyalists through my intervention. I am also working to get more defectors to the PDP. “Since I was appointed SA, I have been the one sponsoring 60 per cent of the PDP activities in my Ward. I also contributed to the local government activities financially at any time I am requested to do so, Mr. Sam Uwhujowho, the PDP chairman, Udu Local Government Area, and Chief Eddy Ono-Sorhue, foremost leader of PDP, Udu, can testify,” he stated. Oyibode, who listed a catalogue of other achievements by him, lamented that he lacked funding to execute his intended programmes for the people, including a workshop for youths of Delta Central on the role of youths towards peace building and governance. He asserted: “The office of the Special Assistant on Community Development needs a Hilux Van to enable it carry out its duties adequately. The need for the Hilux is as a result of the difficult terrain that makes getting to some communities back-breaking. If provided, it will enhance the job we choose to carry out this year.”
PANORAMA Niger-Delta Voice, TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018—39 RIVERS…THE TREASURE BASE OF THE NATION By DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR PORT HARCOURT— MOVEMENT for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, Rivers State, says it will petition the United Nations yet again over alleged devastation of farmlands in Ogoni communities by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in the course of laying new oil pipelines in the oil-rich area. MOSOP said renewal of the pipelines in the area by the multinational oil firm was clearly a disregard for the people of Ogoni, as it ought to have conducted Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, before resumption of activities. Speaking in Port Harcourt, the President of MOSOP, Purported damage of farmlands: MOSOP vows to drag Shell again before UN *We didn’t destroy farmlands, just effecting repairs on 24" TNP – SPDC Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, wondered why SPDC would be insistent on renewing its facilities if it was not for oil exploration. No plan to resume oil exploration in Ogoni- SPDC Meanwhile, SPDC said it stood by its earlier statement on the renewal of its pipelines in Ogoni remains, adding there was no plan to resume exploration in the area. Spokesman, Joseph Obari, said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) is carrying out repair work on the 24” Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) which passes through parts of Ogoni land and beyond.” “The scope of work involves replacement of sections of the existing pipeline. No new pipelines are being laid. The 24” TNP has been shut in since 2013 awaiting this maintenance. SPDC has no plans to resume oil production 3 YEARS AFTER INVASION: Residents scared to return to Rivers community By DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR OGONI—THREE years after the people of Kporghor community, Tai Local Government Area, Rivers State, were sacked from their homeland allegedly by armed youths from Ogu/Bolo over land tussle in 2014, many villagers have refused to return, while returnees live in mortal fear. Reports said that many residents were killed, houses and schools destroyed in the mindless attack. Why villagers don’t want to come home – CDC chair Community Development Chairman, CDC, Kporghor community, Revd. Charles Ndem, who spoke to NDV on the development, asserted that residents have refused to resettle in the community due to fear of another invasion by the attackers, who threatened to return. “We are still afraid. Most of our people are still living in the nearby communities. Nothing is really happening in this community. The attack on us was too much. We have been abandoned by politicians and traditional rulers. Nobody remembers our plight. “We call on the government and other relevant authorities to establish a police station in our community so that our people can return fully. We also need relief materials to start life afresh because we do not have anything again,” he said. According to him, “We also request the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to direct our brother who is working with them to provide help for us.” We are determined to resettle – Spokesman Community spokesman, Mr. *KSWA leader addressing the people of Kporghor community *Kporghor villagers and KSWA officials after the sensitisation *Abandoned home overgrown by bush Nubari Sam said the invaders actually warned that they would strike again if the indigenes returned to the settlement, but insisted that it is their homeland and they would not run away. “Nobody will take our land from us. They threatened us that we will not resettle till 50 years, but we said no. Today, we are struggling to resettle as a community. “They came and killed many CDC chair, Kporghor community of our relatives. They destroyed our buildings, but we that are still alive are resolute that we must resettle.“ Schools shut down Nubari disclosed: “Our schools have been closed since the invasion. No school is functioning again. Our children go to school in neighbouring villages and communities. We call on the government to help us in that regard. The school buildings are just like that without facilities.” KSWA donates cash to revive local economy Meanwhile, Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, KSWA, has donated N50,000 each to 20 women in the locality to start petty trading. National Coordinator of KSWA, Chief Gani Topba, who made the donation during a visit to the community to ascertain the state of affairs, expressed hope that the money would help to restore economic life in the area. Topba expressed sadness that the people were not given due attention by relevant agencies, and called on government to speedily address the plight of the people. in Ogoni land which was stopped in 1993. “The maintenance work involves repairs on the 24” TNP, both in the Ogoni axis and beyond. The affected communities have been adequately engaged and their support secured prior to mobilisation of the repair crew. The repair work is providing employment and other benefits for the host communities. “The works are restricted and contained within SPDC’s right of way, and so far, no third party land has been impacted,” he stated. Signals NASS, NHRC Pyagbara said: “As part of its campaign, MOSOP presented this case before the United Nations Human Rights Council, last November, and also initiated an online global campaign against the laying of the pipeline in Ogoni land, which had generated over 2,000 signatories of support from all over the world. “MOSOP had also petitioned the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in this matter. In the coming days, MOSOP will be returning to the United Nations to make the world body know that the Nigerian government and Shell are still bulldozing Ogoni farmlands and continuing with the laying of these pipelines. “MOSOP reiterates its earlier position that Shell’s continuing laying of pipelines in Ogoni land is a negation of the environmental rights of the Ogoni people and a great display of impunity against the extant laws of this country,” he asserted. Not against oil exploration While calling on the Federal Government to reduce bottlenecks delaying the cleanup process in Ogoni land, he explained that MOSOP was not against resumption of oil exploration, but maintained that firms that want to come to Ogoni must ensure they carry residents along in the oil business. “We call on the Federal Ministry of Environment to break down the wall of bureaucracy hampering the work of HYPREP to immediately cause the release of necessary funds for the agency to work. The unmitigated delay between approvals and release of funds is killing the UNEP Report implementation process,” Pyagbara said.