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Environmental issues in the Niger Delta

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It is unfortunate that our once flourishing community is now a shadow of itself. Hitherto Ke was one of the most peaceful places in the eastern part of Niger Delta. All that changed after the deleterious attack of our land by people that are supposed to be our neighbours. The aftermath of that invasion was a proliferation of light weapons into the hands of non-state actors which led to a state of apprehension, uncertainty, chaos, anarchy and insecurity in the land.

What do you expect? The community has been invaded and left shattered. There was fear, confusion and hopelessness. We were all in shock. The invaders didn’t spare anyone. Women, children and the elderly were all murdered. Houses and other priceless valuables were metamorphosed into ashes with an intention to wipeout our entire history.

The need to defend the land became imperative largely due to government’s inability to provide security. Ke was about to go into extinction, something drastic needed to be done to salvage her! That was where the proliferation of light weapons began. It is important to note that before that incursion by those murderers and arsonists in 2001, 95% of Ke people neither had access to dangerous weapons nor know how to operate them.

Don’t forget, we were already plagued with leadership vacuum after the demise of our late Amadabo. During the late Amadabo’s reign, I remember in the 90s how as teenagers we were scared of him. Some of us will still remember how we flee or swim away from the concrete jetty whenever we hear the phrase ‘Tata buare`h’ (Tata is coming) for fear of his wrath. I believe he was protecting us from drowning or the jetty from being collapsed. Whatever the case might be; there was leadership.

Lack of leadership is one of the fundamental challenges Ke is facing today. According to Oxford dictionary, a leader is a person who leads a group of people, especially the head of a country, an organization, etc. Unfortunately, leadership is a luxury that has eluded us in contemporary Ke, and has become an impediment to our development.

After identifying the two major challenges we are facing (INSECURITY AND LACK OF LEADERSHIP), I would like to make the following suggestions:

i) We should agree that the community needs to be RESTRUCTURED urgently.

ii) We should agree that there is need to have a round-table discussion to discuss how to develop the community (if we don’t do it who will?).

iii) Such gathering should include but not limited to the following: traditional leaders, religious leaders, opinion leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, leaders of political parties, student leaders and very importantly our legal men and women.

iv) At the end of deliberations, there should be a proclamation on how the affairs of Ke shall be carried out with emphases on leadership and the supremacy of the rule of law in our land.

v) Immediate restoration of our educational institutions, primary and secondary schools.

vi) Immediate return of police to the community.

vii) A strong appeal to government to rehabilitate our health facilities among others

God bless us ALL.

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