SOBOMABO Jackreec aka Egberipapa was a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND). He was among prominent ex militant leaders in the region that gave up militancy following the presidential pronouncement of amnesty for repentant militants in the region. Recently, he spoke with Jimitota Onoyume of Sweet crude on a number of pertinent issues concerning the Niger Delta security, oil and gas exploration and production, improvement in living conditions in the area.
In this interview he speaks on sundry issues among which is the mega floating station built on the water ways in his Buguma village three years ago to serve the kalabari kingdom but has not commenced operations. He said the state of the station is enough to provoke youth restiveness in the area. As an ambassador of peace which he now calls himself he said it his duty to draw attention to issues that could spark up any form of crises in an area he said he exercises so much influence.
You said youths in your Kalabari area are getting provoked. What is the issue?
It has to do with a mega floating station built on our water ways in Buguma three years ago to take care of the fuel need of the kalabari kingdom. Till date, that filling station that was completed three years ago has not started dispensing petroleum product.
We welcomed the project when it came to the area. Because we saw it as something that would serve the overall interest of the area. We gave the project security. I ensured that nobody harassed the contractors while they were working. But surprisingly three years after they completed the project it is yet to serve its purpose. The painful thing is that those in charge of the place still supply diesel to the station that is not working. And also run other cost for the floating station that has never dispensed product to the area. We have not seen the benefit of the floating station to the area. I am saying that it is either they make that station begin to dispense product or they should come and remove it. Because it is not serving its purpose yet some people are using it to make money. NNPC should do something about it immediately. We gave support to the project because we taught it would be useful to everybody. Imagine with a mega floating station on our water we still go to look for fuel in Port Harcourt. Then of what use is it to us?
Let me also talk about the shore protection project going on in Buguma. The kind of job the contractor is doing is causing provocation all over because of the poor quality. We are not satisfied. Just go and look at the quality of work. Either he sits up or NDDC should revoke the job. Again, I have been getting reports from the boys that he is paying them paltry sum he should jack up what he gives them for labor to an appreciable amount. You can not come here to enslave our youths because you are doing a project in our community. Nobody is disturbing any job going on in this community because I have given orders that all projects should be allowed to run but the contractor should reciprocate this by giving us quality job. Erosion is a major problem we have in the riverine area. Now that government has remembered us to protect us from this problem anybody doing the job must do a good one. This is my argument. They should do what is good for us because we don’t want to be provoked. We have a duty to monitor projects going on in our area and cry out when they are not being well done
How will you react to the bomb blast in Warri that rocked a post amnesty dialogue?
All I can say is that youths in the region should allow the acting President Good luck Jonathan to make meaningful impact in the region. And he can only do this in an atmosphere of peace. History will not forgive anybody if we don’t give Good luck the chance to work.
You said you want to comment on the recent Jos killing.(Cuts in) Our Muslim brothers should be accommodative. We Christians have a history of being hospitable to them. They owe our Christian brothers and sisters in their midst this level of hospitality as well.
I felt a very great pain when my dear friend I heard took his life because his only son was killed in the recent Jos crisis. Please all sections of the country should promote peace. No group has the monopoly of being violent so we should all promote peace. This is my appeal
Any comment on the post amnesty programme?
I think we are satisfied by the concerns so far expressed by the government to make it work. Government should take the right steps. For instance the likes of Prince Joseph Etella Harry aka God father who was among those that made a lot of us to give up militancy should be brought into any programme to pursue the post amnesty to its logical end. Government should start something immediately in the area of rehabilitation so that the boys that have given up militancy all over can be useful to themselves and the state. I think this is all I have to say