The Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom in Burutu local government area of Delta State, King Charles Ayemi- Botu, has urged the federal government to declare a state-of-emergency on the lopsided infrastructural development in the Niger Delta region.
King Botu, who made the call in his separate remarks during a thank-you visit to some communities in Delta and Bayelsa States for their participation in his 25th coronation anniversary and launch of his biography, said much was expected from the government towards raising the standard of living in the region.
The Monarch said urgent measures were needed to address the dearth of basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, shore protection and reclamation as well as the perennial flooding in the Niger Delta Region, particularly in Ijaw communities to avoid catastrophic natural disasters.
King Botu noted that nature had been fair to the oil bearing coastal communities which had remained the economic live-wire of the country, as they had survived extinction as a result of age long neglect by successive governments.
The development, he said, had exposed the communities to untold hardships arising from perennial flooding, acid rains from perpetual gas flaring, water and airborne diseases, deaths through oil exploitation and exploration by insensitive multinationals whose stock-in-trade was to cart away the wealth of the region without ploughing back part of it to develop the grossly impacted communities.
The monarch called on the federal government and the oil majors to act swiftly to address the anomalies to guard against tension in the Niger Delta Region.
The Paramount Ruler, who visited Ekametagbene community in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, Ikibiri community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and Akaranbiri community in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area also of Bayelsa State, said besides building infrastructure for the socio-economic wellbeing of the people, there was the need to provide scholarships and employment opportunities fo sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region.
The former National Chairman of the Association of Traditional Rulers of Oil and Gas Producing States of Nigeria,TROMPCON, expressed optimism that the narrative would change from negative to positive and commended the efforts of those who had remained resolute in the struggle for true emancipation of the people.
On his 25th coronation anniversary, King Ayemi-Botu paid glowing tribute to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State for personally attending the ceremony held at Okpokunu in Seimbiri kingdom and to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourablr Sheriff Oborevwori.
He commended the efforts of the two Governors towards peace and development in the Niger Delta region, urging them to help sustain the drive for economic and political growth of the south south states.
King Botu also appreciated traditional rulers, religious, political and opinion leaders as well as various communities, groups and associations, for their solidarity and support during his 25th coronation anniversary and launch of his biography, “Lion of The Niger.”
The Monarch, who was accompanied by his palace chiefs and leaders, said the visits were to strengthen relations and love among his kingdom and the communities.
The Acting Chairman of Ekametagbene community, Mr Godbless Perezide, who described the visit as historic, berated NDDC contractors for abandoning the Ekanmetagbene reclamation project and stressed the need for the completion of the project.
In their remarks, the Amanana-Owei of Ikibiri Town, Jonathan Alagba, and the Amanana-owei of Akaranbiri Town, Pamosai Malick Tuduowei Akanrankporo, expressed gratitude to King Ayemi Botu for his commitment to the unity and development of the Ijaw nation.
They also thanked him for the visits which witnessed traditional performances and exchange of gifts.