THE Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwole, has harped on increased military presence in waterways and creeks of Delta State.The first-class monarch explained to the United States (US) government, that the reason the Itsekiri nation wanted more military bases in the state waterways, in spite of the reservation of their Ijaw neighbors, was to ensure law and order amid ncreased criminality and the absence of police in the creeks.
Ogiame Ikenwole said this at his palace in Warri, when he received a US delegation led by the Consul General in Nigeria, John Bray, who called on him in continuation of the US engagement of stakeholders in support of dialogue for peace in Niger Delta.
The Warri monarch told the Consul General, Bray to, “Use the US’s good influence on Nigeria to appeal to the Federal Government to be committed to the Itsekiri’s call for more military presence in the riverine communities not just in Delta, but in the Niger Delta.
According to him, “We are not saying the military should go and harass people but their presence will instill law and order.
There has been a lot of vandalism and violence and the police with statutory duty for internal security are no where in the creeks.
If there is breakdown of law now, it takes the military not less than three hours to reach the creak for intervention.
So, we are saying the military should be made to have more bases in our communities.
Itsekiris are not known for vandalism or bunkering. People say they are agitating.
We are altogether for peace in the region, but we are saying criminality must be separated from genuine agitation and subdued.
Blowing pipelines and bunkering is criminality.”
He appealed to the guests to pressure the federal government to kickstart the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the $16B Export Processing Zone, Ogidigben, both in Warri South West council and regeneration of the idle Warri and Koko ports.
“The Maritime university is good, there is no contention.
We are saying we own the land it is sited and there should be proper acquisition.
There are proofs. We have public hearing in Abuja tomorrow (today), and our people will be there to prove our point.
“For the Warri and Koko ports, both in my kingdom, they are not new creations. They have been there.
All that is needed is revamping. Added to the EPZ, these structures will create a lot of jobs because the real issue in the Niger Delta is joblessness and lack of infrastructure.
Help us tell government to act”, the Olu said.
Meanwhile, the Consul General, Bray, had earlier told the Olu that his team had met with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in continuation of their engagement in support of dialogue for peace in Niger.