THE people of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have thanked the Federal Government, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the media, Human Rights and pressure groups among others for the release of 10 pupils who have been in custody of the Nigerian Army since May.
The 10 teenagers, it will be recalled, were arrested during the invasion of the kingdom’s headquarters, Oporoza, by troops in search of members of the dreaded Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) who were bombing government’s oil facilities in the region.
In a statement signed by the acting secretary, Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, and made available to Tribune Online on Tuesday in Warri, the embattled people of the kingdom also pleaded with the Federal Government to reduce the presence of troops in the area as well as return cultural artefacts and other items allegedly confiscated by the Nigerian troops from the shrine.
“We want to use this medium to thank all those who, in one way or the other, have contributed to the release of the Gbaramatu 10 students arrested during the military invasion 0f Gbaramatu kingdom.
“The natural ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbarun II, Aketekpe, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, the Gbaramatu Traditional Council and all the sons and daughters of Gbaramatu kingdom are, indeed, very grateful to you all.
“We want to particularly thank our amiable Governor, Sen Okowa for the role he and his cabinet played in the release of those boys,” the statement read.
Chief Gbenekama, who’s the Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, however, called on the Federal Government to “key into the initiative of the Niger Delta people and constitute a team to discuss the issues that are causing disaffection and dissatisfaction in the Niger Delta so that we can have a lasting peace.”