By Onome Oghenetega
Kinsmen of former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, have raised fresh alarm that communities under Gbaramatu Kingdom were being held under military siege.
Gbaramatu Kingdom is one of the Ijaw kingdoms in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. Tompolo hails from the area.
They expressed fears that their communities could be under attack in no distance time if urgent steps were not taken by the federal government to immediately nip the planned attack in the kingdom on the bud.
In a statement signed by the Spokesman (Fiyewei) of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama late Tuesday evening said the alleged siege on the people of the area by the military was both on water and on air.
The statement issued on behalf of the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs stressed that they do not want a repeat of the 2009, 2016 and 2018 alleged invasion of their communities by the military.
According to it, “The Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs has noticed the renewed siege, harassment and intimidation of communities and people of Gbaramatu kingdom by the Nigerian Military through water and air.
“It could be recalled that Gbaramatu kingdom which is along the Escravos River in Warri South West LGA of Delta received similar action from the Nigerian Military in 2016 to 2018.
“Since then the people have been living in fears of possible military invasion like the one of May 2009, when the military overrun a number of communities in Gbaramatu kingdom claiming hundreds of lives and the destruction of property worth billions of Nigeria.”
The statement described the alleged renewed siege on the kingdom as a tactic to cause fresh crisis in the now peaceful Niger Delta region.
“Our fear is that the military is trying to repeat same act to the peace loving people of Gbaramatu kingdom if urgent steps are not taking by the Federal Government to call the military to order.
“The recent action of the military could be described as a mischievous one as the kingdom is very peaceful and do not expect such military actions.
The primary function of any responsible government is the protection of lives and property as well as welfare for the people.
“Nigeria seems to be a failed state as it could not provide security and welfare for the people. The country is being subjected to all forms of violent acts because of the negative attitude of the government towards the people. Even President Buharis home town, Duara is not safe as it has been over taking by bandits and kidnappers.
“Gbaramatu kingdom is today far safer than any part of the country. So why this organised military siege, harassment and intimidation of the people? We do not deserve any military action as Gbaramatu kingdom is yearning for human and infrastructural development as a part of the Nigerian State. Moreso, the kingdom contributes about 40% of oil revenue to the country.”
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently investigate the activities of the military in the Niger Delta region, Gbenekama urged the military to confine themselves to rules of engagement rather harass and molest innocent indigenes of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
He added that, “There is an urgent need for Mr President to investigate the activities of the military in the Niger Delta region as the military is not within the confines of the rules of engagement and this may lead to breakdown of law and order in the region as it is happening in Gbaramatu kingdom.”
When contacted for reaction, the spokesperson of the Joint Task Force (JTF) codenamed Operation Delta Safe (ODS), Maj. Jonah Eromosele said he has not been briefed of such development.
He, however, promised to investigate the allegation to enable him speak authoritatively on it.