24 August 2014, Port Harcourt – The people and chiefs of Abonnema town in the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State have pledged their continued unalloyed support to join the Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi in the bid to recover all of its ceded oil wells to Bayelsa State.
Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, Owukori IX disclosed this on Tuesday when Amaechi visited the area to inaugurate numerous projects such as 15KVA electricity project, ultra modern market and the Owukori Memorial Hall put in place by the Akuku-Toru Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Theodore Georgewill, and the lawmaker representing Akuku-toru Constituency II in the state House of Assembly, Hon Benibo Anambraba, in Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
King Bob-Manuel also commended the efforts of the governor for resisting the federal government from ceding the Soku oil wells and indicated the support of the chiefs and the people of Abonnema to join him in the fight for the recovery of the oil wells ceded to Bayelsa State.
According to him, “We thank Amaechi for all his efforts to resist the federal government from ceding the Soku oil wells to Bayelsa State government. We are grateful for the interest and the struggle to retain those oil wells in our domain. Our people are prepared to join him to fight for the recovery of our oil wells ceded to Bayelsa State. We have no doubt that the territory where the Soku Oil wells are located belong to the people of Abonnema as a kingdom, they are all Kalabari territories, not owned by Bayelsa State. We shall continue to fight for the protection of those territories. When the issues came up, we took to the streets of Port Harcourt from Isaac Boro Park and registered our grievances. The people of Abonnema and indeed the Kalabari people are not happy that our oil wells in Soku have been ceded to Bayelsa State.”
The monarch also commended Amaechi for citing numerous people-oriented projects in Abonnema which he explained have impacted positively on the people.
He urged the governor to assist the people of Abonnema in sand filling the area to create more land space that would address the social problems of the people. “Here in Abonnema, land is a scarce commodity and our people are suffering because there are no enough space to build houses. It is a social problem. Many of our brothers and sisters are in court over land disputes, but in spite of these challenges we want you to assist us sand fill our land to address these challenges. We assure you of the loyalty of our chiefs and their subjects to peacefully pilot the affairs of the state to the successful end of your tenure,” King Bob-Manuel said.
On his part, Amaechi told the people and chiefs of Abonnema that his administration would commence a feasibility study into the possibility of sand filling the area.
“This is not politics, but, a need to create expansion to allow the people have enough land space and conducive atmosphere to live but we will do a study to know if we have enough sand to pump in the sand filling. The roads we are building in Bakana are expected to link the Tombia bridge to Ogbakiri”, he said.
He commended Alabo Graham-Douglas, Justice Karibi-Whyte (rtd) and Professor Tam David-West for standing by him at the time when he took legal action against the federal government to resist the ceding of the Soku oil wells to Bayelsa State.
“Everything that needs to be done legally has been done, and you cannot sell your birthright. The silence of the people and chiefs of Abonnema shocks me over the Soku oil wells, you need to build activism amongst yourselves to be able to get back what belongs to you. The funds accruing from the Soku oil wells have been diverted to Bayelsa State government. You need not to fear any intimidation because it is your right. I don’t want history to say it was during Amaechi’s administration that the Soku oil wells were ceded to Bayelsa State. Governor Seriake Dickson, once said, he wants Soku oil wells and the funds, not the Soku people. When I dragged the federal government to court, their lawyers said it was a mistake for the boundary adjustment to have tampered with 10th edition and they promised to correct the mistake, I want them to correct the mistake now. There was even a petition written by the Bayelsa State government to further adjust the disputed boundary up to the Sombreiro River. This is ridiculous, that is why I said the Kalabari people should vote out PDP, “ he said.
Also speaking, Georgewill commended the Amaechi administration and the Joint Military Task Force, JTF in overcoming the security challenges suffered by the people, and further assured the people of electricity supply in the area.
In a related development, Anambraba said the Owukori Memorial Town Hall built by him for the people of his constituency would go a long way in addressing some of the problems of his people.