Communal Crisis: Rivers Govt Threatens to Acquire Disputed Ogoni Land

by Samuel Ajurunwo

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 clash.

Governor Nyesom Wike, who dropped 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 gave the warning during the flag off of the reconstruction of Government Secondary School, Kpor in Gokana Local Government Area of the State on Wednesday, June 9.

He noted that after the crisis that culminated in the killing of prominent Ogoni leaders in the 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 fulfilment 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 dilapidate 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 close 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 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.

Earlier, in his remarks, the State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, said the upgrade and reconstruction of the school will increase capacity and impact hugely on the end users.

He said: “this school will further provide opportunity for the children of Gokana to be taught to think and not how to think and when they have been taught how to think, nobody can indoctrinate them”

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