From Osakhare Erese, Asaba
No fewer than 60 community leaders from riverine communities in Delta and Bayelsa State yesterday converged in Bomadi, headquarters of Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State over the dearth of basic amenities and the deteriorating security challenge in the oil-rich area.
Riverine communities on the coasts of River Niger and the Bolou-Toru Creek in both Bayelsa and Delta States, as well as those along the River Forcados and the Ramos Creek in Delta State participated in the all-inclusive meeting.
Presiding over the meeting, the Bishop of Bomadi Diocese of the Catholic Church, most Rev. Hyacinth Egbebo, MSP, noted that the essence of the meeting was to enable riverine communities from a united front to call on the federal and state governments to see the urgent need for road construction, electricity and potable water in the area.
He called on political leaders from the area and the federal and state governments to listed to the cries and pains of the people by working for development of the oil-rich area, which he said was seemingly alienated from enjoying the common wealth of the nation, despite being the goose that lays the golden egg.
Egbebo decried the deteriorating security challenge in riverine communities, especially the menace of kidnapping and cultism and tasked community leaders to work together with appropriate security bodies and concerned youth groups to forestall the situation, even as he also tasked security agencies to be more Proactive in the fight against kidnapping and related vices in the area.
The cleric condemned, in its entirely, the abduction of four missionaries from Enekorogha community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State a fortnight ago, who had been rendering free medical services to riverine community folk for over eight years, describing the act as wicked, barbaric and disdaining to the uniqueness of the Ijaw hospitable culture and called on the culprits to release them unconditionally release.
“This place is the wealth of the nation and we do not have roads, electricity and potable water. The oil is getting dried and it will sooner or later become irrelevant due to emerging technologies. You are community leaders and we should be able to tell our political leaders their failing responsibilities. The Federal and State Governments should pay attention to our plights. “Again, the community leaders have a role to play to curb the menace of kidnapping and related vices in our various communities.
There is no more security in the riverine area and we can do something in our capacities to curb the challenge. Government should also please pay attention to our plights; our rivers, too, are being polluted by cruising oil-laden ships with trashing propellers, yet it is the only source of drinking water for the people”, he said.
However, after long deliberations, the communities condemned the kidnapping of four Christian missionaries at Enekorogha community and came up with a resolution to form a pressure group to pursue its demands from government, as the meeting was also reconvened for November 8, 2017 for proper constitution of its executive.