The commercial activities in the popular Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt were on Tuesday paralyzed as the inauguration of the Degema 3 Cluster Development Board CDB was disrupted by some youths from the different sections of Kalabari clan in Rivers State.
The Degema 3 cluster is made of up of no fewer than fourteen (14) oil producing and bearing Kalabari communities.
Information reaching our news desk had it that trouble started when a faction led by the Chairman Caretaker Committee in Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Mr. Ojukaye Flag Amachree, and his counterpart in the Degema Local Government, Alhaji Daddy Ibigoni Pokima connived with some managers from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and security men to inaugurate the CDB Board.
While in the Presidential Hotel, making plans for the illegal inauguration, information leaked to other members of the cluster communities who stormed the venue of the planned inauguration and staged a protest.
During the protest, there was a free for all fight and some of the organizers of the planned illegal inauguration fled the venue. While the JTF at the venue threatened to fire the protesters. However, when a distress call was made to the Brigade Commander, Bori camp, and more two (2) vans of security officers were dispatched, and on arrived it was discovered that the JTF at the venue were on illegal assignment.
Immediately they (JTF) were arrested and moved them to the Bori camp. As at the time of filing in this report the arrested security officers are in the military cell, Bori camp.
Meanwhile, before the Tuesday’s crisis, a petition was sent to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, alleging the imminent breakdown of law and order.
The said petition, entitled, “Imminent Breakdown of law and order in Kalabari communities of Rivers State – Re: Planned, Inauguration of Degema 3 cluster Development Board DAA 3 under the SPDC/ Communities, GMoU”.
The petitioned dated 11th July, 2014 was written by Chief Papaye Princewill, Mr. Innocent Batubo, Junior Sekibo, Fiberesima LongJohn, Henry Sogules, Chief Ebiabo Money, Mr. Tekena Daye, Chief Philemon and Hon. Ipalibo Braide through their counsel, Chief Barr. Tamunotonte Dawari Horsfall, said that after various communities have submitted the list of C.T members as endorsed and signed by their royal fathers and community leaders since 2013 to form the cluster Board, “some faceless individuals who claim to be acting for these communities are making all frantic efforts to doctor the said list substituting the validly nominated members for their cronies and apologists”.
According to them there exist political undertone to the entire episode, adding that the mastermind of the disregard/exclusion of the authentic membership of the cluster board is the government of the day both at the state and the three (3) local government areas of Kalabari.”, saying that political consideration has been imputed into the purely community affairs as CT members who belong to PDP are being substituted by APC members. The sin of these marginalized CT members is because of their support for President Goodluck Jonathan”.
In a similar development, the Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) in Kalabari Clan, Comrade Odum Sobrasua has called on well-meaning Nigerians and Security Operatives to intervene in the tricks of the Rivers State Commissioner For Chieftaincy And Community Affairs, Hon. Charles Okaye and the three Kalabari Local Government Chairmen to forcefully hijack the smooth processes of the Cluster Development Board of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the area, saying their actions was capable of causing disunity and crisis in the clan.
Sobrasua accused the Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs Charles Okaye and three LGA Chairmen of conniving with the authorities of SPDC to sideline the communities in Kalabari land of what is due to them, warning that they will resist any attempt to inaugurate members of the Cluster Development Board without involving stakeholders of the community.
The IYC Boss condemned their actions; saying that such issues are usually handled with care to avoid unpleasant consequences that could result into crisis and pleaded with SPDC not to collaborate with Hon. Charles Okaye, Daddy Pokima, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree and Stanley Benibo, because they do not have the mandate of the entire communities of Kalabari.
He wondered why such community issues should be politicized, pointing out that the All Progressives Congress (APC) agenda they want to implement will meet the brick wall and warned them to retrace their steps or else they will be consumed by the fire are they are setting.
“Any attempt to go ahead with the inauguration of the Cluster Development Board without the involvement of stakeholders will be resisted by the youths of the area, as I have advised the aggrieved youths against causing any breach of the peace”, he said.
He maintained that should any breach of the peace or crisis occur over the inauguration of the Cluster Development Board, the SPDC, he Rivers State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon. Charles Okaye, Hon. Daddy Pokima, Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Ojukaye Flag Amachree, Asari-Toru LGA Chairman and Hon. Stanley Benibo of Akuku-Toru should be held responsible by security operatives.
The collaboration of SPDC, Hon. Okaye and the three Kalabari Local Government Chairmen is capab1e of causing communal clashes, breakdown of law and order. Communities matter should be devoid of politics and sentiments and should be amicably resolved only by the community people at the community level, not politicians who are out to implement their selfish agenda”; the IYC chieftain stressed.
He however, lauded the magnificent feat of Dagogo Farah who quickly intervened by calling on the youths in the kingdom to remain calm and shun acts capable of ruining and threatening the existing relative peace in the area, saying the youths have absolute confidence and loyalty on Dr. Farah who has advised, and that every relevant authority are working on how to resolve the matter. ###