Nwuche Restates Commitment To Ekpeye Development

Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Esama Ekpeye Logbo of Ekpeye Kingdom, Rt. Hon Prince Chibudom Nwuche has reassured the people of Ekpeye Kingdom in Rivers State of his resolve to continue to assist in the overall development of Ekpeye Kingdom. He stated this at his residence in Port Harcourt when Ekpeye leaders, Chiefs and youth groups paid him a courtesy visit.

Receiving the delegation, Rt. Hon Prince Chibudom Nwuche thanked them for the visit and reassured them of his resolve to always have the interest of the Ekpeye people as

paramount. He thanked the Ekpeye monarch His Royal Majesty Eze (Flt Lieut) Robinson O. Robinson CON JP, Eze Ekpeye Logbo II of Ekpeye Kingdom, his council of Chiefs and the entire people of Ekpeye Kingdom for the honour and trust bestowed on him and pledged to always justify same. He commended the Ekpeye monarch for the honour and dignity he has brought to the Ekpeye traditional institution and his tireless efforts in resolving the recent insecurity facing the Ekpeye people.

He used the opportunity to appeal to the delegation to continue to prevail on the youths that even though he is aware that this democratic dispensation since 1999 has not been fair to Ekpeye people because they have not gotten any democratic dividends and their prominent sons and daughters have not been appointed into any positions of responsibility especially at the federal level and their contractors and business men also not patronized by various governments, they should not on account of these neglect and the obvious poverty in the area resort to criminality and begin to carry arms against themselves and the government, in order not to inflict more suffering on their people who are already bearing the brunt of lack of good governance.

He lamented that the plight of Ekpeye people became worst in the last six years under the administration of former P resident Goodluck Jonathan as no benefits came to the Ekpeye people inspite of the massive votes for the former president and other PDP representatives and support given to the government. He urged them to support and join hands with the President Muhamadu Buhari administration, assuring them that he is hopeful succor is going to come the way of Ekpeye people in this present administration and they will hopefully be patronized and empowered, pointing out that "very often those that will meet us at the points of our need may not be our blood brothers most times, and may even be total strangers from other tribes".

He regretted the recent insecurity facing Ekpeye in which over 500 innocent and law abiding citizens have been gruesomely murdered by assassins and cultist noting that it is a shame that each time an armed robber, assassin or a kidnapper is arrested Ekpeye people are always being mentioned, saying things of this nature has continued to give Ekpeye people a bad name which is not good for the image of the tribe. He recalled that Ekpeye people are known for their peaceful disposition and urged the youths and the leaders to maintain this age long identity. He urged them to work closely with the Ekpeye Monarch His Royal Majesty Eze Robinson O. Robinson and his council of Chiefs as well as other Ekpeye leaders and the security agencies in order to bring peace to Ekpeye land and to prevail on those youths involved in one form of criminality or the other to lay down their arms and embrace the amnesty offered by the Rivers state government which is also in line with the appeal by Eze Robinson O. Robinson who has done a lot to bring peace in Ekpeye land and other well meaning individuals. He noted that but for the efforts of His Majesty Eze Robinson O. Robinson, Ahoada and its environs would have witnessed unprecedented exodus and would have been a ghost town by now. He used the occasion to urge the monarch not to be perturbed by the antics of the sponsors of criminal groups who are writing false petitions and accusations against him, but continue in his determination to restore peace in Ekpeye.

He used the opportunity to urge the federal government to come to the aid of Ekpeye people and empower them to secure the thousands of oil and gas pipelines criss-crossing Ekpeye land. He commended the Ekpeye leaders for their role in ensuring that Ekpeye youths do not engage in disrupting oil activities and blowing up pipelines like youths of other oil producing areas. He however urged government to focus on areas who have maintained peace and not only the ones causing problems in order not to be seen to be rewarding criminality and luring other youths to also bear arms.

He promised to draw the attention of the concerned oil companies and the relevant government and international agencies to the cases of oil spill that is already taking its toll on Ekpeye people to ensure that the affected spill areas are cleaned up and the environment restored to avoid further damage to human lives, the environment and the fauna and flora.

Earlier in his speech, the leader of the delegation High Chief Kroham Joel the outgoing President General of the Ekpeye apex socio-cultural organisation, UZUGBANI EKPEYE LOGBO told Prince Chibudom Nwuche that they were in his residence to commend him for his selfless leadership he has provided to Ekpeye people all these years which has brought about the relative level of development witnessed in Ekpeye Kingdom today. High Chief Kroham informed Prince Nwuche that Ekpeye people deeply appreciate his support both morally and financially to the Ekpeye monarch His Royal Majesty Eze (Flt Lieut) Robinson O. Robinson (Rtd.) CON JP, the Eze Ekpeye Logbo II of Ekpeye Kingdom in achieving the relative peace currently being enjoyed by the Ekpeye people following the unprecedented insecurity in Ekpeye in which hundreds of people have been murdered and several others kidnapped as well as raping of women and armed robbery, stressing that but for his efforts Ekpeye would have been a ghost tribe by now as everybody would have deserted. He used the occasion to draw the attention of the Ekpeye Prince to the poor state of infrastructure and lack of human capital development in Ekpeye Kingdom noting that the only time the people of the Kingdom witnessed federal government presence in terms of roads, electricity and water projects as enjoyed by Ekpeye people today was through the efforts of Prince Chibudom Nwuche when he was in office as Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and that since he left office there has been no further attention of government to the plight of the Ekpeye people even though the people have had other representatives in the National Assembly after the tenure of Hon Prince Chibudom Nwuche.

High Chief Kroham Joel also informed Hon Nwuche that they were in his residence to also intimate him of the neglect suffered by Ekpeye people in the hands of the multinational oil companies whom Ekpeye people play host to, pointing out that all efforts by the Ekpeye people to draw the attention of these companies to their plight especially with respect to entering an MOU with Ekpeye people have failed as they refused to respond to their requests. He listed the companies as Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Total E&P, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR), Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) and several of their subsidiaries and urged the Ekpeye Prince to intervene by drawing the attention of the government and the companies to the plight of the Ekpeye people who he have remained peacefull and protective of government and oil company facilities in their dormain despite the obvious neglect and suffering of the people unlike the case in other areas where oil facilities are constantly destroyed. High Chief Kroham made particular reference to the devastating oil spills that hit several Ekpeye Communities since July 2015 when crude oil spilled from pipeline belonging to Nigeria Agip Oil Company limited (NAOC) and destroyed farmlands, ponds, aquatic lives, economic trees, fishing ponds and nets as well other sources of livelihood of the people of Owube community in Ahoada West LGA and another in a pipeline belonging to Total E&P Nigeria limited which affected Ekpeye communities of Ihuaba, Idoke, Ihuowo, Ihuama, Ogbele, Oshiugboko and Okoma 1 and 2 living along the Sombreiro river whose only source of drinking water, farms, ponds, fishing nets, aquatic lives etc of the communities were badly affected and that all efforts made by these communities to draw the attention of the oil companies have failed as the companies apart from not embarking on the clean up the spill, have refused to put any measure in place to come to the aid of the affected communities in terms of providing them relief materials and compensation for the inconveniences and losses suffered as a result of the oil spills. He therefore urged Prince Chibudom Nwuche to intervene in the current predicament of the people of the affected communities whose health conditions are deteriorating daily due to the harmful effect of these spills which have persisted for over a year now without any attention by the companies.

Also speaking, the president of Ekpeye Youth Congress, the umbrella body of all youth groups in Ekpeye Kingdom Comr. Raphael Nwuche thanked and commended Prince Chibudom Nwuche for his tireless efforts and selfless service to reposition Ekpeye land for the better especially his youth friendliness which has endeared him to to all Ekpeye youths who see him as a role model. He thanked him for his efforts towards restoration of peace in Ekpeye, noting that he is seen as the beacon of hope for the people, hence the need to identify with him while calling on him to continue his good works for the Ekpeye people. He further commended Prince Chibudom Nwuche for the pride and honour he has brought to the people of Ekpeye Kingdom especially during his period in office as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position he held with all dignity and candor successfully without any blemish, a feat he described as very uncommon in our recent history, a clear departure from the usual norm where public officers put in positions of trust embezzle government funds at their disposal at the detriment of the masses. He also commended Prince Chibudom Nwuche for his enterprising and industrious spirit and for remaining relevant in national politics even after leaving public office over 13 years ago. He urged the Ekpeye prince to remain steadfast and focused as ever in his determination to provide leadership to Ekpeye people and protecting the interest of the people at all times.

Raphael Nwuche used the opportunity to inform Prince Chibudom Nwuche that Ekpeye youths have been marginalized in the scheme of things especially in respect of the pipeline protection contract given to youths in other areas but regrettably the reverse is the case in Ekpeye whereby non indegense were given the pipeline protection contract within Ekpeye saying that it has become imperative for government and the oil companies to review this injustice and award pipeline survelance and protection to Ekpeye youths. He noted that as youth leaders, they have done their best in prevailing on the youths who have been insisting on carrying out protests to draw the attention of the government and the oil companies to correct these imbalance by continuously urging the youths to remain calm and peaceful, pointing out that there is definitely an extent they can prevail on the youths hence the need for the government and the oil companies to act fast and respond to the request of the Ekpeye people which are basically their rights.


 
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