Rivers Community returns after 5 years of communal clash

For the overall interest and genuine peace of Rivers state and it’s people, the state government has been advised to urgently instruct traditional rulers to relocate to their domain and live amongst their people.

King Felix Enene Otuwarikpo, Eze Igbu Upata III of Upata Kingdom, gave the advice on Saturday at Ula-Ikata village in Ahoada East when he visited the people who returned home years after a land related crisis sent them into exile.

He also called on Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and donor agencies to come to the aid of the people, stressing that any assistance from the government and donor agencies will be invaluable in reversing the devastation visited on the community by warring factions.

He said: “The condition of the people is pathetic. The Ula-Ikata community is in total ruins and the people need the help of donor agencies and governments to survive,” noting regretfully that damage to buildings, worship places and public institutions like school has been “horrendous. All these will be rehabilitated, and every form of help is welcomed.”

King Otuwarikpo enjoined them to live in harmony and urged all aggrieved parties in the community to eschew rancor for permanent peace in the community, while he reiterated his resolve to rebuild the houses of seven family elders.

The Traditional ruler further said that the community would not make progress without necessary support and urged aggrieved parties to team up with the rest of the Upata people to bring back the glorious days of Upata Kingdom.

In his remarks, the Nye Udu Ede Upata I (District Head) HRH Eze Kelvin Ngozi Anugwo commended King Otuwarikpo’s leadership of Upata Kingdom, pledging to assist the Upata Monarch to ease the “hurting effects” of the Community’s problem, and other issues raised by the traditional ruler.

Even the paramount ruler of the community, Chief Chidebem Ogboka, lauded King Otuwarikpo for his efforts and for pledging to rehabilitate the building of the seven family elders which was destroyed during the crisis.

Recall that the Ula-Ikata community was ravaged by land related crisis and on ascending the throne in September 2017, a peace and reconciliation committee was set up by King Otuwarikpo. The outcome of the peace move climaxed on June 1, 2018 when the King Otuwarikpo flagged-off their return.

On their return, they are being encouraged by the Upata Traditional Council, and it is most important for government at all levels and donor agencies to come to the people’s aid.

Those who have returned are full of hope as they began to pick up their lives back in their desolated community. Rehabilitation work has started on the building of two Elders, promised by the King.