The Rivers Government has released N400 million for resettlement of members of Ekporo community in Eleme Local Government who were affected by inter-communal clashes about eight years ago.
This was made known in a statement made available to journalists in Port Harcourt by Ms Juliana Masi, Press Officer to the Secretary to the State Government.
According to the statement the money released by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers is also meant for compensation of families fatally affected by the inter-communal clashes.
It stated that the governor expected the money to be used for the development and resettlement of the people of Ekporo who took refuge in other communities when their community was rendered uninhabitable by the clashes.
Speaking to Elders and Stakeholders of Eleme community during a meeting in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike expressed government’s desire that communities remained peaceful and enjoy the infrastructural prosperity of the state.
The governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, noted that Rivers government would continue to foster inter-communal coexistence and peace in order to build a safe and secure state for all.
According to the statement, “It is unfortunate that members of the Ekporo community were sacked from their community for about eight years now as a result of the inter-communal wars.
“We expect you to work with Government on beneficial plans to utilise this funds in terms of primary infrastructure and resettlement of the people back into their community”, Wike said.
He urged indigenes of the state to continue to toe the line of peace as conflict and war will only brew devastation and under-development.
In his remarks, the former Senator representing Rivers South-East, Sen. Olaka Nwogu, thanked the Governor for his magnanimity in resettling the people of Ekporo back into their community.
“It is with profound gratitude we are here to thank His Excellency for what he has done. It is historic and important because it touches each and every one of us that it is in our time.We lost one of our most vibrant communities and also in our time that this community is being recovered. The entire people of Eleme are grateful”, he said.
The King of Eleme, His Majesty, King Philip Osaro Obele, Oneh-eh Eleme XI, said that what the Governor’s gesture was very historic as the people of Ekporo would be peacefully settled back into their homes after years of living as refugees.
“We lost one of our communities for over seven years and today we are bringing back that community. Members of the Ekporo community have been refugees in other areas despite the situation that there is no war now. What has happened today is very historic.
“I use the opportunity to congratulate the Eleme political class that you have added another cap to your feathers as you did not allow one of your communities to be extinct for life,” he said.
The meeting was also attended by the State House of Assembly member representing Eleme Constituency, Igwe Aforji; former State Commissioner of Culture, Mr. Marcus Nle-Ejii; former Chairman, Eleme Local Government Area, Chief Ejoor N. Ejoor; the Paramount Ruler of Ekporo, His Highness, Emere Samuel Obe; and other stakeholders.