02 March 2016, Warri – The people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, have urged the Federal Government to stop its militarization of their communities, saying they are not pipeline vandals.
Gbaramatu leaders, who spoke to Vanguard on the sidelines of the formal presentation of Prince Naira Ogoba as Pere (King)-elect of Gbaramatu kingdom, at Oporoza, described the continued militarization of the area as a witch-hunt and calculated attempt to stir crisis in the land.
There was jubilation as the kingmakers, comprising Chief Godspower Gbenekama, Chief Julius Tonfawei and Chief Nelson Ogelegbanwei presented the Pere-elect, Prince Ogoba, at the Palace Ground, Oporoza, to the regent, Chief P. T. Heavens and Chief Alfred Bubor.
Plea to return home Chief Gbenekama, who spoke on the ordeal of his people, urged the indigenes and residents, who fled the area in the wake of military siege to return home to face the Federal Government and prove their innocence that they are not criminals and pipeline vandals.
He said: “Let us come back home, we cannot continue to run from our home. Let us come back home, we are not pipeline vandals, even if government security agencies will kill us in our land. The militarization of Gbaramatu should stop. Government should stop the militarization and engage the people in a constructive way so that the pipeline vandalism should stop.”
Another community leader, Chief Nelson Ogelegbanwei, who corroborated Chief Gbenekama’s position, said: “We do not vandalize pipelines. Oporoza is innocent of any allegations by the Federal Government about the pipeline vandalization.” Ogelegbanwei accused the Federal Government of bias in the manner it has been handling the matter since the beginning of the year.
No partiality in selection of Pere-elect Ogelegbanwei also said that there was no partiality in the selection of the Pere-elect as the kingmakers followed due process. Speaking, Chief Clark Gbenewei said, that kingship in Gbaramatu Kingdom was not hereditary, adding that each of the ruling houses produce the king when it comes to their turn.
Chief Vero Tangbowei told Vanguard: “The Pere-elect is God’s Chosen one. It is the will of God. I pray his reign will usher in peace and development.”
The Amakosuowei of Benikrukru Community, Pa. John. Okirika described the emergence of the Pere-elect as the will of God. Pa. Okirika also advised the Pere-elect to be upright and God -fearing, always speak the truth and work hard to bring “peace, prosperity and development” to the kingdom.