Professor Yemi Osinbajo has denied report that that traditional rulers in the Niger Delta region stormed out of a peace meeting with him.
In a tweet by Laolu Akande who is the media adviser to the vice president, he said he was the at the meeting and that he elders did not walk out of Osinbajo.
Read earlier report below:
Emerging reports suggest that traditional rulers in Delta state stormed out of a peace meeting with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Monday, January 16.
According to a Tweet by TVC News Senior Correspondent, Sumner Shagari Sambo, the traditional rulers walked out from the peace meeting with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at Effurun, Delta state.
Vanguard reports that it was a hectic one-day visit to Delta State for Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, as he witnessed the explosive nature of the region, with the Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic groups disagreeing on the ownership of the site of the Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, Okerenkoko, whose take-off is a major demand by the Ijaw of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Prof Osinbajo also found himself in another tight spot when monarchs, who waited for several hours for his arrival at the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI, Conference Hall, Effurun, got tired and angrily stormed out of the venue.
The appearance of the Vice President, who made an emergency landing at about 5p.m. with his chief host, the governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, moments after they staged a walk out, did not persuade some of the monarchs from returning, but security operatives locked the entrance, stopping their drivers from leaving the premises.
Some reluctantly returned in the circumstance. Osinbajo was accompanied on the visit by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.) and others.
Governor Okowa led the state delegation, which included his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, while the co-chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, HRM Alfred Diete-Spiff, led the former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Brodrick Bozimo, Pastor Power Aginighan and HRH Anabs Sara Igbe to the event. Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (left) receiving the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, during his one day working visit to Delta state, at Osubi Airport.
At the troubled Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South-West Local Government Area, the people complained that they have become more endangered and estranged by the current Nigerian state, calling on the Federal Government to reconcile them back to the national union.
The Vice President, who touched down at Oporoza onboard a Nigerian Navy 231 helicopter, at about 1209hrs, first held closed door talks with the Pere (King) of Gbaramatu, HRM Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba and his Council of Chiefs as well as host governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, among other stakeholders before an open and broader open air interaction.
Maritime varsity must take-off now — Gbaramatu
Chief Godspower Gbenekama, spokesman of Gbaramatu, who presented the kingdom’s position, told Osinbajo that they expected his visit would represent a game-changer capable of building genuine confidence in the people and Niger Delta at large.
He said: “Coming at a time of national economic recession and when the Niger Delta, especially Gbaramatu, has become more endangered and feeling estranged from the Nigerian nation, we believe this visit will truly build confidence in the people of Gbaramatu and Niger Delta on Federal Government’s commitment beyond hitherto frustrating rhetorics, not just in developing but according dignity and pride of place to the oil-rich region.
“Gbaramatu Kingdom is tall and rich in national oil infrastructure that enriches the nation but lamentably lacking in infrastructure that benefits the people. Against the foregoing pitiable background, we herein raise issues of immediate concern, hoping the Federal Government will leverage on same to reconcile Gbaramatu, the Ijaw nation and Niger Delta to the Nigerian nation.”
Among pertinent issues, Gbenekama noted: “Gbaramatu’s entire landscape wallows in utter government neglect. It was against this backdrop that the immediate past administration established the Maritime University at Okerenkoko, the only Federal Government initiative that rekindled hope of meaningfully engaging restive youths and prospect of endearing the people to the Nigerian project.
“Sadly, no sooner than the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was inaugurated, academic activities slated for commencement September 2015 were suspended over varied interests just as construction works at the permanent site were halted due to discontinued funding.
“A visit to Kurutie, the take-off site would reveal a campus that can compete in infrastructure with similar institutions in the world. It is our appeal that you use your good offices to remove all restraints and ensure commencement, soonest, of academic activities in the university to the benefit of all Nigerians.”
On the militarization of Gbaramatu, Gbenekama told Osinbajo: “Under the guise of searching for oil facility vandals, oil thieves and other criminals, the Nigerian military has become an army of occupation, committing serial invasions on Gbaramatu Kingdom.
The consequences have been loss of several lives and properties and huge humanitarian crisis.
Dialogue is key
“Continued military occupation, invasions and unwarranted harassments give a lie to Federal Government’s commitment to the dialogue option.
The entire Niger Delta region has embraced dialogue as symbolized by mandates for dialogue given to the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) which could pan out a way where the people would be involved in protecting the oil resources that also benefit them."
“Gbaramatu is not at war with the Federal Government. It is, therefore, our appeal and hope that your visit today will pave way for demilitarization of the area for genuine and result-oriented dialogue. Dialogue under military occupation and harassments is dialogue in chains.”
The people further called for actualisation of the EPZ project, fiscal federalism as enduring solution to national agitation, adding that “We feel the entire Niger Delta shares our commitment to dialogue.
The Federal Government should deepen its engagement processes in the Niger Delta and usher in enduring peace and reconciliation of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the Niger Delta to the Nigerian nation.”
President orders take-off of NMU
Shortly after visiting facilities at the Kurutie temporary site of the Nigerian Maritime University, Vice President Osinbajo, who presented himself as an emissary of President Muhammadu Buhari, said there had been considerable readiness to ensure the university project was fully realised.
“In terms of readiness, there is considerable readiness as you can see with the physical structures we have.
The President has already directed that this project must move on. So, there is nothing more to say except that I have been there and seen work has been done.
“The bill establishing the university has passed second reading. We expect that it should be ready quickly and passed into law. Once it is passed into law, the take-off of the university is sure.”
A fruitless visit - Gbagi
Meanwhile, former Minister of State, Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, last night dismissed the visit as fruitless, saying that the Vice-President and the organisers of the visit took the Urhobo nation for granted.
“You don’t take the Urhobo for granted and we cannot accept a situation where our traditional rulers are treated like second class citizens in our own land,” saying it was against the grain of reason for the Vice-President to visit other ethnic strongholds without stopping over at Ughelli, the political headquarters of the Urhobo nation.
Lamentation for N’Delta
Earlier in his address to stakeholders on the subject, “We Must Prepare for the Future”, the Vice President bemoaned: “The Niger Delta that you see today, including this kingdom we are now, is an area with poor infrastructures. No schools, no hospitals and severe pollution.
The Niger Delta of today is that of daily pipeline vandalism. In 2014 alone, there were over 3,700 incidents of pipeline vandalism. From January to June 2016, there were over 1,447 incidents of vandalism.”