Tony John, Port Harcourt
Natives and residents of Ubima Community, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, have raised the alarm over rising insecurity which, they said, has claimed the lives of over 80 youths in the community.
Ubima community is the hometown of the former governor of the State and Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.
Some of the indigenes, who spoke during the Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign for the June 16, local government polls, decried the recurring menace, lamenting that security challenge has affected normal activities in the community.
They lamented that business and farming activities have been affected drastically following the crisis.
In his remarks, Chairman of Ubima Council of Chiefs, Chief Wegbuom Sabinus, stressed that since the recurrence of the hoodlums in the community, they no longer sleep with their eyes closed.
He called on the state government and other concerned groups to come to their aid, adding that some of the indigenes of the community have become refugees in their neighbouring communities.
Chief Wegbuom said; “For more than three years now, residents of Ubima have not slept with their eyes closed. We don’t know what the two factions are fighting for. We don’t know what they are struggling for; it is not oil they are struggling for; the cause of the battle is best known to them. We don’t know why they started shooting sporadically, driving everybody from the community. We have lost over 80 youths since the incident and we are still losing more.
“I don’t know why the crisis is still prolonging; we don’t rest and anytime they want to attack, they start without ceasing.
“We want government and international community to come to our aid in Ubima, because we are tired of this incessant shooting and killings. More that 50 percent of our people are living outside Ubima as refugees with little or no money to feed with. We need a long lasting peace in this community”, Chief Wegbuom lamented.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ikwerre Local Government Area, has accused the All progressives Congress (APC) of allegedly masterminding the mayhem which made many people to desert Ubima community.
The PDP said the intent was to make people avoid its scheduled campaign at the Minister of Transportations hometown.
Former Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Samuel Nwanosike, who led the campaign train to the community, assured that soonest the LGA would be uncomfortable for people who are recruited to perpetrate such mayhem on the people.
Nwanosike said, “There was a time you could not see a soul in this community, but, today, by the Grace of God and with the support of the security agents, as caretaker committee, we cleaned out those criminal camps and return back the community and they started living safely.
“What you can see today, is the handiwork of members of the All Progressives Party in Ubima, who have decided to intimidate the people from coming out in support of our campaign.
“For us, no amount of gun shooting will stop development from coming to Ubima. But, rather, it is a thing of shame that someone is in the federal Executive cabinate, the Minister of Transportation and his community is living in fear.
“What else can he offer his people, when his boss, the President of this nation sworn to oath of office to protect the lives and property of the people including the people of Ubima.
He promised, “When we come into office, our first priority is to tackle the insecurity in Ubima community and every other community in Ikwerre Local Government Area, so that investors can come and have a safe environment to grow the economy of this LGA”.