Special Feature

Ogoni Boils Again, Big Oil Community Leaders Cry Out for Security

WARRING groups in Kegbara Dere, an Ogoni big oil community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State are currently making life unbearable in the community. This is happening again more than seven years after residents and those of B Dere fled their homes areas in the wake of clashes between two rival groups.

At that time, former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the incumbent Transportation Minister visited the flashpoints, appealing to residents to come back as security men were deployed to maintain peace in the areas.

Amaechi who visited the communities then in company of the Commander, 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt and the state Commissioner of Police expressed shock at the level of destruction in the areas that was brought about by the perennial clashes.

This time, heads of dynasties, leaders of thought and the Caretaker Committee of Kegbara Dere are crying out to the armed security agencies to protect them and other innocent citizens of the community from being harmed by allegedly induced hoodlums and their sponsors.

This is sequel to an alleged plot by some manipulated, anti-Kegbara Dere elements acting the script of the oppressive pharaoh of the community, to unleash mayhem on the community and divert attention from their alleged looting of the community treasury, promotion of cultism and other criminal activities.

Chairman of the community’s Caretaker Committee, Friday Kpelo, an engineer, who made the latest development known to this reporter in an online statement Tuesday night said, ‘’with the current ugly incidents, we would warned that the community seats on a keg of inflammables and may be plunged into avoidable intra-communal violence.

‘’We are therefore, urging the security agencies to intervene to prevent a total breakdown of law and order. The matter has been formally reported to relevant security authorities in Rivers State and beyond’’.

Continuing, he said, ‘’reports available to us have shown that some former members of the immediate past governing structures of Kegbara Dere and their collaborators are behind the plot. The masterminds revealed have procured dreaded cultists in the community led by Friday Nnanta alias Commander, to execute the plan.

‘’It was further revealed that they have instructed the outlaws to deliberately assault their targets to provoke a clash. Implementation of the command to force the community into needless disturbance had already begun’’.

The perceived enemies allegedly marked for violent attack including Pastor Festus Legbara, Engr. Friday Kpelo, Mr. Meebari Norteh and Mr. Kakabel Zorzor have been harassed and assaulted and their lives under grave security threat.

On May 19 and 27, 2018 Pastor Legbara and Engr. Kpelo were allegedly harassed and assaulted separately by a group of cultists led by the said Friday Nnanta, whose cult related activities have assumed notoriety.

Close relatives of Pastor Festus Legbara have allegedly been warning him based on information at their disposal. On May 22, 2018, Meebari Norteh was similarly harassed and assaulted by Ledor Mene at Zorkoro in Kegbara Dere.

Others earmarked for like fate include but not limited to Chief Fyneface Farah, Chief Philip Loole, Chief Noble Ereba, Chief Isaac Kerabana, Chief Allison Zormaol, Chief Bereke Gaage, Chief Deekor Popkoo, Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap, Mr. John Gaage and Mr. Barinyima Kpaa.

The aim of the alleged plot is to silence all those considered leading the crusade to ensure that all those involved in converting Kegbara Dere into their private estate, embezzling her resources and opportunities and stalling its development, promote cultism to destabilise and commit other atrocities against the community, must account and suffer punishment if culpable.

This approach allegedly favoured by the masterminds betrays callousness and reminiscent of the past. Between 2008 and 2009, Kegbara Dere lost over 27 natives following preventable internal crisis that engulfed the community. The cause of that very violent conflict was also traceable to main player in the current, the tyrannical pharaoh of Kegbara Dere who carries on as if Kegbara Dere is his personal property.

‘’Facts abound that the said pharaoh and his brothers are implicated in the stealing of over N150 million community funds and are doing everything to kill ongoing investigations. But they will fail as God is on our side’’, Head of the community’s Council of Heads of Dynasties, Chief Fyneface Farah, said.

This embattled Ogoni communityhas more than 50 oil wells. This implies that it is sitting on a sea of oil. The community is also known as Bomu Oil Field because when the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas major, Shell came, they came through Bomu. Bomu is a village in Ogoni by the shoreline.