Senator Ifeanyi Okowa,The Governor of Delta State, today set up a high-powered Advocacy Committee, headed by the Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, to tackle pipeline vandalism in the state.
He gave the committee marching orders to proceed to the riverine areas of the state, especially the troubled Gbaramatu Kingdom to speak to the people. The Deputy Governor, Barrister Otuaro, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard on phone, confirmed that the directive of the governor was that they (committee) move with immediate effect.
Members of the committee include Commissioner for Youth Development, Asupa Forteta, Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mofe Pirah, Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Kelly Penaowu and Special Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Bosin Ebikeme Others are Chairman, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Godwin Ebosa, Chairman, Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, Chief Boro Opudu, Director Genearl, Political and Security Services, David Tonwei and former Commissioner for Commerce and one-time national president of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, who will serve as Secretary.
As part of its terms of reference, the governor directed the committee to relocate to the riverine areas and “majorly advocate for an immediate stop of the on-going facility destruction, finding the immediate and remote causes of resurgence of militancy and create platforms of dialogue amongst others.”
Meanwhile, the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs, led by Chief Clark Gbenewei, today dismissed the insinuation that the people of Gbaramatu were behind the perpetrators of recent pipeline vandalism in the area.
The council stated this when the members paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Governor, Barr Otuaro, yesterday. GTC spokesperson, High Chief Godspower Gbenekama, who commended Otuaro on his emergence as deputy governor, said: “The perpetrators are not of Gbaramatu Kingdom. We condemn the act of pipelines vandalism in totality as it undermines the national and state economy and negatively affects our livelihood.”
Gbenekama, who advocated dialogue in resolving issues, said the Gbaramatu leadership was willing and ready to collaborate with federal, state, local government and relevant agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the criminal acts, found within or outside the area. “We are with you all the way, we are in solidarity with you. We want you to pass this message to your Principal, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and to President Mohammadu Buhari.
We have not at anytime come together to destroy oil infrastructure, let alone when we have our son, Otuaro, as Deputy Governor and at helm of affairs. We can only do what will make you, Otuaro, greater,” Gbenekama posited.