Gbaramatu is not a war zone – Jonathan

  • Says challenges plaguing Nigeria are temporal

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State is not a war zone or no-go-area as being misconstrued by outsiders.

He added that the present challenges Nigeria and Nigerians are going through are temporal, saying it will soon be over.

The former President made the remarks on Tuesday at the official presentation of staff of office to the traditional ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, at Oporoza.

Jonathan said: “the way we hear of Niger Delta nay Gbaramatu Kingdom, you may think that people cannot gather there peacefully. People think it’s a place of war; it’s not. I’m happy we’re living in peace here and in Nigeria.”

He enjoined traditional rulers to engender peace in their domains, adding that they should crave development through peace.

Governor Okowa, while presenting the staff of office to the traditional ruler, described the kingdom and ceremony as peaceful.

“I’m happy the Ijaws could put themselves together for an occasion like this. I look forward to a greater community of love, peace and development,” he averred.

Okowa pleaded with every nationality in the state to reconcile among them.

According to him, “It’s time to heal wounds for the state to move forward. You have reasons to feel bad, but it’s also possible to carry out agitations through dialogue and non-violent manner. It’s time to embrace peace; forgive those who need to be forgiven. We need to partner with others to move forward. I’ve come to plead with you to embrace peace. It’s time to think back and reconcile.”

He promised to carry out visible developmental projects in the riverine areas of the state, noting that his government be held responsible if it reneged after two years.

Meanwhile, the acting secretary of the Traditional Council of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, has decried the intermittent raids of communities by military troops.

He decried the alleged military pastime, disclosing that many indigenes of the kingdom have practically made the first their abode.

“The military raids our communities at will and this has made our people to make the forest their abode. Countless men, women and children have been injured and several of them have been injured and several of them have lost their lives to these invasions,” Gbenekama noted.

He therefore called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as the chief security officer of the state, to work hard to reduce the presence of troops and arbitrary raids of Gbaramatu Kingdom, which he noted usually left behind tales of woes.

Gbenekama also pleaded with Governor Okowa to prevail on the Federal Government to continue with abandoned projects such as the Export Processing Zone at Ogidigben, shipyard and deep sea ports at Okerenkoko as well as the Maritime University at Kurutie in Warri South West Local Government Area.

Dignitaries at the colourful event included House of Representatives members, Hon Daniel Reyeneju, Hon Julius Pondi, deputy governor Kingsley Otuaro, traditional rulers from Delta, Ondo, Bayelsa and Rivers states, clerics and various government functionaries among others.

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