The leadership of Emevor community in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State has condemned the unauthorised protest by a section of youths of the community over abandoned road project.
The community leaders said the protesters did not get the backing of the King nor President General or even the community youth chairman.
At a press conference on Tuesday in Emevor, the Commissioner representing Isoko Ethnic Nationality on the board of DESOPADEC, Dr Paul Oweh said the protest was ill-conceived and targeted at maligning the state governor as someone who does not keep to his promise to the people.
Flanked by the President General, Sir Moses Agboro; SSA Media to the Governor, Comrade Nelson Egware, Community Chairman Bishop Abisi Otobo; Youth Chairman Comrade Benjamin Okpolua; Chief Peter Ibiri; Representatives of the Palace, Chief Godwin Orogun and Chief Engr Samuel Otomo and Representatives of the women (Ewheya) Mrs Christiana Khama and Mrs Comfort Edafiano, Dr Oweh said those who staged the protest were not out to help the cause of Emevor because they have portrayed the community in bad light by their action.
“Yesterday being Monday 25th of April, 2022, some misguided youths from this Emevor community alongside with their collaborators from outside here stormed the Ughelli-Asaba highway in a protest.
“They blocked the road for several hours, causing untold hardship to innocent road users.
“Ostensibly, they were protesting to draw the attention of the Governor of the state, Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to the deplorable state of the Emevor-Orogun road and asking him to keep to the promise he made to us last year, by carrying out the construction.
“The said protest has absolutely no backing of the various community authorities, they have erroneously portrayed our Governor as someone who has not kept his promise to the people of Emevor.
“This is pure blackmail and the essence of this press conference is to state the fact as they are and therefore correct the wrong impression.
“Last year, the Governor visited Emevor community on a campaign for Hon Jude Ogbimi’s bye-election.
“At the event, I made a passionate appeal to the Governor to help us construct certain roads that are vital to us. Graciously, he approved the construction of 2km on the Emevor bypass road and the construction of 4km of the first phase of the Emevor-Orogun road.
“As I speak to you, the 2km bypass road has been awarded, completed and delivered. You can check it out for yourself.
“On the second promise, the Governor invited me to his office about 2 weeks ago. In my presence, he called the commissioner for Works, Engr. Noel Omodon directed him to prepare a memo to EXCO for approval for the 4km he promised on the Emevor-Orogun road.
“As at the time of this ill-timed and malicious protest, the scoping and measurements of the road has been done and the report already submitted by the field engineers to the ministry of works, awaiting preparation of memo to EXCO meeting,” he said.
He said the information was duly passed across to the community leadership and wondered why the youths chose to sabotage the efforts made so far.
“All this information has been made available to the Royal Highness of Emevor, the President General and the youths.
“Therefore, there is no question of communication gap on the part of the youth. Now with this information, is it fair to portray our Governor as someone who did not keep his promise to Emevor people?
“Again, if certain of Emevor youths are protesting without the backing of the Royal Highness, nor the President General, nor the leadership of the women group, nor the leadership of the youth, nor the political class, then whose interest are they serving?
“Information available to me indicates that certain persons outside our community are infiltrating some of the people to ensure that the road is not done.
“I, therefore, appeal to all Emevor sons and daughters not to support any external person or persons to set us back, whether out of envy, jealousy or any other reason.
The Emevor- Orogun road has been in a deplorable state for many years now. In the year 2014, during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the road was awarded by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with the help of Sen. James Manager who was the Senate Committee Chairman on NDDC, and under the Supervision of his aide, Hon. Otobo Elliot Ugbome. For more than 6 years, no meaningful work was carried out, therefore necessitating our cry to Governor Okowa for his intervention.
“Within one year, the Governor has completed one and is on the verge of awarding the second one. Why didn’t these ill-defined youths not protest all this while?
He commended officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force who devoted so much time and energy to ensure that calm returned to the community.
While appreciating the efforts of the Palace and the President General in ensuring peace, he called on all indigenes of the community to maintain peace at all times for the government to carry out their developmental agenda.
“On behalf of the entire community, I apologise to his Excellency the Governor of Delta State, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa for this ill-timed and malicious protest carried out by ill-defined youths.
“I especially appeal to him to please continue the good work he has started in Emevor,” Oweh stated.
In his remark, President General of the community, Sir Moses Agboro said the protest was a rebellion against the leadership of the community as it never had their blessing.
“When you act against the authorities then it becomes a rebellion, it was very disappointing because they were well briefed on the progress made so far on the project.
“The protest was a pure rebellion against constituted authorities in the community,” Agboro said.