Wike threatens to acquire disputed  Ogoni land over communal crisis

L-R: Special Adviser to the Governor of Rivers State on Special Projects, George-Kelly D. Alabo; Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo and Senator Barry Mpigi during the flag off of reconstruction of Government Secondary School, Kpor in Gokana LGA on Wednesday.

Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt

The government of Rivers State has threatened to acquire a disputed land between Bomu and Lewe communities in Ogoni if they fail to end their communal war.

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who gave the hint said the State government will be compelled to acquire the disputed land if the two Ogoni communities fail to end the protracted conflict that has claimed several lives.

The governor made the assertion during the flag off of the reconstruction of Government Secondary School, Kpor in Gokana Local Government Area of the State on Wednesday.

He noted that after the crisis that culminated in the killing of prominent Ogoni leaders in 1990s, fratricide should have been considered an unpardonable taboo in Ogoni by now.

“Prominent people in Ogoni have died. The few remaining you want to still kill them. If I were you people, what had happened to Ogoni  should have made everybody to be together, to forget about killing one another again. Are you not tired of killing yourselves?”

Governor Wike, who described the communal crisis between the two communities as saddening and regrettable, warned that after meeting with the two communities and they fail to resolve the dispute, the State government will acquire the land for public use.

“I will meet with the people of Bomu and Lewe.  If  you don’t agree, I will  acquire the land.  But I will give you the opportunity first and if you don’t agree, I will come and take the land and build what I want to build.”

Governor Wike commended Ogoni people for being  supportive of his aspiration to govern the State since 2014 when he declared his intention.  According to him, the reconstruction of the Government  Secondary School, Kpor is in fulfillment of some of the promises he made to the people of Ogoni during his campaign.

He criticised the immediate past administration in the State for  allowing old secondary schools  to become dilapidated just because they wanted to build so called model secondary schools that each cost the State at least N6 Billion.

“In this country, we believe that we must destroy to make our own name. These are schools that have produced prominent Nigerians and Rivers people.

“We have the Government Comprehensive School, Enitonia High School, Birabi Memorial Grammar School,  County Grammar School and others. All they do,  is to bring down these schools and build their own.”

Governor Wike insisted that only the best quality will be accepted from the contractor and directed that every fund required for the project should be released in order to speed up the work.

The governor also said that a police station will be built near to the school as part of policy to beef up security around learning institutions where boarding facilities are provided for students.

Performing the flag-off,  the Senator Representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District,  Senator Barry Barinada Mpigi expressed the appreciation of Ogoni people for their several educational, and road infrastructure including police station provided in the area by the Governor Wike’s administration.

“This school was established in 1976 but it started academic activities in 1979. This school has produced three prominent persons among the ones we can mention. A professor in Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, one of your commissioners and the Auditor general in the local government System. Such a school deserves more. People have ignored this.  But thank God today,  you have remembered this school.”

Giving the description of the project, Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects,  George-Kelly D. Alabo said the event marks another phase of planting of the seed of development characteristic of the Wike administration.

“We have structures here that are dilapidated and you have graciously approved the reconstruction of this school.

He explained that  20 structures will be built in the school comprising of  2 dormitories of 288 capacity each, one for males another for females(totally 576). There will also be  2 one storey structures and each will have  12 classrooms.

“There will be workshops, science and art laboratories, Assembly Hall.  Quarters for the Matron, Principal,  Vice principle, Staff and of course external wall works, water and electricity supply.”