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The people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, home of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo has raised alarm over fresh deployment of military in their communities. Raising the alarm on Thursday, October 27, 2016, Chief Godspower Gbenakama, the Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom and Acting Secretary General, Gbaramatu Traditional Council expressed worries that the military was trying to cause tension and panic among residents of the Kingdom at a time when leaders and elders of the Niger Delta region were about meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the intermittent crisis in the region.
He disclosed that the deployment was capable of derailing the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region, particularly the dialogue process already started by the Chief Edwin Clark’s Pan-Niger Delta Peace Forum with the Federal Government, he added that one of the house boats manned by fierce looking soldiers is stationed at the water front of Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Chief Gbenakama alleged that the military was planning to derail the peace process to justify their continuous stay in the Niger Delta region, he stressed that the military, instead of keying into the peace initiative had decided to carry out another military offensive against people of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
According to him “one of the house boats is stationed right in front of Oporoza waterfront with the guise of looking for militants but this planned action of stationing military house boat in Oporoza is capable of derailing the fragile peace that some of us have tirelessly worked to achieve in the past few months.
” It would be foolhardy for the military to think that militants are domiciled in Gbaramatu Kingdom because, if they were in the Kingdom, the military would have long fished out those attacking pipelines.”
The Ibe-Benemowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom noted that despite the heavy presence of military men in the region, the militants still go ahead to attack pipelines whenever they want, a development which he said only shows that militarization of Ijaw communities and the entire Niger Delta region was not the solution to the crisis.
He gave an instance where the military stationed at Ikpokpo allegedly failed to stop militants from bombing an NNPC Node which they were supposed to be guarding not quite 70 metres from their house boat stationed in the area, he added, “instead of performing their legal duty on the fateful day, according to information we gathered, they went to Tebujoh/ Okpellama and shot a young man digging sand to death.
” It took the timely intervention of the Traditional Council for that development not to have resulted into a major crisis. Let it be known that the presence of the military and their house boats have never stopped the militants from attacking oil facilities.” Chief Gbenakama then wondered why the military should station a house boat right in front of the water front of Oporoza waterfront where residents go to fetch water and wash their wears and even take their baths, adding; “ we see this plan as an invasion on the privacy of the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom and Oporoza in particular”.

He alleged that the military have turned the house boat stationing around Gbaramatu Kingdom to a money spinning venture as nearly every part of the Kingdom is under siege of military men stationed in house boat which may have been hired with huge sums of tax payers’ money, he spoke further, “as it is now, there are so many military house boats stationed across the Niger Delta region but this have not stopped the militants from attacking pipelines if they so desired. As for Gbaramatu Kingdom, it has become a military zone.
“Almost everywhere is militarized. There is a military station in Ikpokpo, another one at Ibanfa, there is another one in dreaded former Camp 5- that one is a military detachment full of military men; there is another house boat in Kengha Gbene (Abiteye), another in Tekeye Gbene(Kokodiagbene, Otunana) and another one in Jones Creek, another one in Seiturobubor. There is one also in Sengbene among others.”
He then called on President Buhari to call the military to order so as to forestall invasion, harassment and sudden death of residents, more so now that the militants have agreed to allow the Niger Delta leaders hold talks with the federal government on the way forward to end the imbroglio in the region.
Chief Gbenakama used the opportunity to call on militants groups in the region to sheath their sword so that they don’t give room for the planned military option which the federal government had earlier threatened to employ if the dialogue process and option fails.

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