From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Former inspector general of police (IGP) and former Police Service Commission chairman, Mike Okiro, has alleged his ethnic nationality, Egbema, is being marginalised and relegated in the scheme of things.
Okiro, who is the national leader of Ogbakor Egbema Alinso, appealed to the Federal Government to create a local government to include the oil producing communities of Egbema in Rivers and Imo states.
He said the council, which could be in Imo or Rivers state, would allow oil producing people of Egbema to have a voice and representation on national issues.
Okiro said: “Egbema needs to be united. Unfortunately, Egbema is divided into two, Egbema in Rivers and Egbema in Imo. These two sets of people are the same. The same language and culture. Egbema has 16 towns; 13 in Imo and three in Rivers.
“We were originally in Rivers under the Old Ahoada division before part of it was created into Oguta division. Oguta was a district council, but later became a division. We are one.”
He said the ethnic group was minority in two different councils in Imo and Rivers states, calling for creation of a local government for the 16 communities of Egbema.
Okiro said: “In Rivers State, we are under Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) and in Imo State, we are under Egbema/Ohaji council. In the two states, Egbema is in the minority.
“We want a local government. Egbema is big enough to be a local government. Imo State will not allow Egbema people to go because we have oil. The 13 percent they are enjoying comes from Egbema.
“I want Egbema to be a local government, whether in Rivers State or Imo State. It does not matter, so far as it is in Nigeria, so they can talk and represent themselves.”
Also, former ONELGA chairman, Wokocha Raymond, said: “Egbema is an important segment in Nigeria. We have contributed a lot to Nigeria economy. Yet, we have nothing to show for it.
“Despite the number of oil wells we have, we have not produced a representative in Niger Delta Development Commission before. We have been denied even appointment into state cabinet.”
President of Ogbako Egbema, Ifi Igwebuike, said Egbema people need to be united and speak with one voice.