A few days ago, a man identified as the younger brother of the late Don Wanny, the man behind the New Year eve massacre in Rivers State, was killed. Wanny, his brother and their foot soldiers turned Rivers Orashi region into a dreaded zone.
No thanks to these men, four local government areas in Rivers – Abua-Obual, Ahoada East, Aboada West, and Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni – were turned to war front, where lives meant nothing.
Three major gas plants are in their confine. They are at Obite, Ebocha and Ogbele. The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) major reservoir at Ubeta, which serves as a feeder to the Bonny NLNG terminal, is also within its bosom.
These hardworking people are into farming and fishing businesses. Above all, their hospitality was legendary. But no thanks to bad leadership, Orashi people are only remembered for violence. In recent years, starting from the build-up to the 2015 general elections, the area witnessed massive violence. An individual’s ambition changed the peaceful ambience of the region to one of daily and gruesome bloodletting.
In these areas, many innocent people perceived to be sympathetic to the All Progressives Congress (APC) were murdered. Many were brutally beheaded and their properties destroyed. A few examples will buttress this point. They are: the beheading of ward 4 Chairman of Omoku, the late Mr. Obi Franklin, his pregnant wife and son. Another is the murder of the APC youth leader in ONELGA, Hon. Clever Orukwowu. Others killed are: Chief Okwu Osia, the paramount ruler of Egbada Community in ONELGA, Chief Godpower Ahiaidu; Hon. Monday Elenya, former member of Rivers State House of Assembly; APC Ward 11 Chairman in Ahoada-East, Mr. Roggers Jared; Mr. Chikwem Itigwe of Ahoada East.
In Ekpeye Kingdom of Ahoada West, the claws of the evil men brought down Hon Alali Morris, the former Councilor representing Ward 1 and a chieftain of APC killed of the Abua -Ahoada road.
Many will easily remember the case of the late Chief Christopher Adube and his family members. Adube was murdered with six members of his family in one day. One of his children has been confined to a wheel chair. They were killed April 3, 2015. Omoku lost 16 people that day, including the Adubes. The day the Adubes were killed, other persons were murdered in Oboh community.
2,060 people, according to estimates, have been killed over time in ONELGA; 1,100 in Ahoada East, 70 in Ahoada West and 200 in Abua/Odual.
Commercial banks were forced to close shop. Major banks are all gone. Hotels and hospitality centers and schools were forced to shut down in the region.
This worrisome trend led stakeholders to meet and at a news conference this January, they set out conditions for peace.
They said: “The enormity of the loss suffered by the region cannot be quantified in monetary terms in that practically every aspect of commercial endeavours were brought to stand still as women were deprived access to their farms as they were regularly raped in the farms, some dying in the process, shops and business houses were vandalised and shutdown,
“There was massive migration from the region and forced displacement of persons who are yet to recover from the shocks of the violence that engulfed the region. The effect of the activities of the rampaging politically sponsored criminals can only be compared to the situation in the North-East part of Nigeria that is the Boko Haram insurgence. Even the Benue State killings that have generated so much justifiable outrage would be viewed as child’s play compared to what happened in the Orashi region of Rivers State of Nigeria.
“The situation degenerated so badly that on the 1st of January 2018, 23 worshipers returning from cross-over services were gruesomely murdered while so many injured people are presently receiving medical attention in various hospitals and health centers.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the security agencies intervened which led to the killing of Don Wanny on 6th January 2018.The efforts of the Federal Government is highly commendable and should be sustained.”
Their demands are simple and doable. These are: “ That the Genocide and Terrorism in Orashi region is highly condemnable, hence the perpetrators and sponsors be brought to book. There is growing suspicion that security agencies and operatives in Orashi region may have been compromised, hence their roles should be investigated.
“That Security of the region should be improved to cleanse the area from criminal elements that still roam and terrorise the area. That the multinational oil companies within Orashi region should desist from patronising criminals in their exploration activities.
“We call on the Federal Government, International community, donor agencies and other humanitarian agencies to urgently attend to the needs of the victims and displaced People of Orashi region.
“We are also calling on the youths of Orashi region to tow the path of peace and shun social vices that are inimical to the development of our region.
“In view of the strategic economic contribution of Orashi region, The Federal Government should embark on people oriented programmes that would ameliorate the suffering of the people and create massive employment for our teaming youth.”
Written by Stanley Jack, a freelance journalist