May 25, 2024

Oborevwori meets Okuama-Ewu leaders 70 days after military invasion

Gov Oborevwori

*Promises immediate rebuilding of schools and health centre destroyed by soldiers

*Residents now to report to IDP camp for profiling, etc

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Akpokona Omafuaire and Ochuko

GOVERNOR Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State met for the first time yesterday in Asaba, the state capital, with leaders of the strained Okuama – Ewu community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, precisely 70 days after troops of the Nigerian Army invaded and destroyed the riverside town.

He promised to start the process of rebuilding the community with a Health Center and School, which the Army destroyed in the aftermath of the killing of 17 military personnel, reportedly on a peace mission at the Okuama community.

The Secretary–General of the Ewu Kingdom, Edewor Egedegbe, Hon. Belvis Adogbo, Victor Akemor, and other leaders attended the meeting. The Chairman of the Management Committee of the Ewu Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, was also at the event.
Governor Oborevwori said his administration was committed to rebuilding the town in collaboration with other stakeholders. He called on the Okuama residents to relocate to the IDP camp in Ewu.

He said relocating to the camp would help profile those affected and attend to their health needs and other social services. adding that the government would spare no effort in championing peace and development in the community.

The governor charged indigenes of the town to uphold the ideals that would positively affect their ancestral homes.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the Secretary General of Ewu Kingdom, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, said, “I want to thank His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori for the fatherly heart he has displayed today. It is a dream come true that the much-awaited peace of Okuama in Ewu kingdom has been struck.”

“He spoke to us as a father, shared in our pains and he is determined to ensure mitigation of the pain as soon as possible. He has also assured us of the rebuilding process and gave assurance that the Okuama people would not have cause to regret again.

“On the IDP camp, he has also shared light with us why the people must come to the IDP camp that is prepared for them. First, it will help to get people to attend to them, and people, who want to support them willingly will come there and support them.

“He has assured us that Okuama would be rebuilt but it is a matter of time. Those are reassuring words for us.

“As leaders from the Ewu kingdom, we are going back for a meeting with our people and all Okuama survivors, and we will tell them what the governor has said, and how he is committed to ensuring that all the necessary remedies are done.

“The governor has also told us that the health center will be rebuilt side-by-side with the school immediately. That will be within three to four months it will be done; that is reassuring. Therefore, these are some of the take-homes to reassure our people.

“We are also going to prevail on our people to come to the IDP camp in Ewu; only the people that are affected. One of the reasons our people do not want to go to the IDP camp is that people want to hijack it.

“But the governor has listened to our plea and said that members from the Okuama community be added to the IDP camp committee so that they will be able to identify the real Okuama people affected by the crisis. Therefore, the government will include a man and woman in the committee.

“We have also promised him that we will go and de-escalate tension as quickly as possible. We call on spirited individuals, and non-governmental organizations to join hands with the government to help rebuild our community.”

One community leader, Victor Akemor, added, “On the outcome, it was a good one, the leaders of the Okuama community held a meeting with the governor today (yesterday). The issues we discussed are those things that have been difficult for us to handle.”

“The governor paid attention to the Okuama people. We discussed the boundary adjustment between Okuama and Okoloba, which had been causing the crisis in the river among others. We demanded the governor attend to it immediately.

“He promised the people of Okuama that the government would handle the boundary adjustment immediately.”
“He assured that in a few weeks, the government would commence rebuilding our health center, which the soldiers destroyed, and also build a six-classroom block for the students to have where to learn.”

Chair of the IDP Management Committee, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, who also spoke to reporters, said, “The meeting with the governor is most fruitful because the governor addressed all of the issues. The governor raised most of the fears of the Okuama community and rested them. However, I had told them there was no need for those fears.”

“The governor has given them all the assurances on the things holding them from coming to the camp. Therefore, we are very prepared to receive them.

“We can receive about 200 people for a start, and we have standby capacity to take even as many as 1,500 persons if need be. So we are fully ready.”