TENSION has heightened in Ogoni over the threat by Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi to attend the Save Rivers Movement rally in Bori, today.
But a group, Concerned Ogoni Elders’ Forum has implored Amaechi not to attend the rally following the violent disruption of the earlier one planned for last Sunday by suspected ex-militants.
Angered by the disruption of the rally, Amaechi had vowed to lead the rally rescheduled for today and dared the police to shoot him.
“I will be there next Saturday. I am going there for a rally on Saturday and I invite Channels. First, we will try as much as possible to replace the things that are missing and stolen. On Saturday I will be there.
“When they say former President Obasanjo is lying about snipers and one thousand names, they said Nigeria Police has no rubber bullets. Where did rubber bullets come from? Is it one of the snipers that shot at Magnus Abe? Could it be that they were aiming it at me? But for the first time, I will want to expose myself, I will be there. I will be there on Saturday. Let them come and shoot,” Amaechi said.
The spokesperson of the Forum, Kobani Bere told journalists in Port Harcourt Friday that tension has increased in Ogoni since the violent disruption of the Save Rivers Movement rally and the subsequent threat by the governor to dare the police.
“The Forum considered the implications of recent politically inspired activities in the area (Ogoniland), particularly the incidences in Kpor, Gokana Local Government Area on Monday, January 13, 2014 and Sunday, January 19, this year in Bori, Khana Local Government Area.
“The Forum observed that the verbal, shooting and alleged physical attacks on some of our innocent youths by political thugs and stooges amongst us are of grave concern to us (Ogoni) as an ethnic nationality,” he said.
Bere urged Amaechi to cancel his planned All Progressives Congress (APC) and Save Rivers Movement’s rally in Bori slated for today or any other date, in order not to heighten the already tensed atmosphere, and to forestall possible breach of the fragile peace in the area.
According to him, officials of the Rivers State government and all politicians should desist from using Ogoni as a demonstration field for political violence.
“All political gatherings or rallies intended to be held in any part of Ogoniland (Khana, Gokana, Tai or Eleme) should be communicated to the Police and the appropriate permit secured from the Police authorities before such gathering is organized,” he added.
Bere said anyone who takes actions contrary to the above positions of the forum will be considered an enemy to the development and peaceful coexistence of the people of Ogoni and would be resisted accordingly.
Amaechi, in his reaction to the Bori attack, likened the present Federal Government to that of late military ruler, General Sani Abacha.
“There is serious danger for democracy, because what you are seeing here is close to what Abacha was doing. This is an Abacha’s government. Let us see the difference. Lives were being lost, people were being shot, journalists were being arrested. This is worst because even governors were not arrested under Abacha. But as a governor…When we speak, we speak because we are involved. You are a journalist; I don’t know whether you were born when Abacha was alive? If you were, then compare what is going on now and what was happening under Abacah regime. Just compare,” he said.
He said the state government gathered that the state Police Commissioner called a meeting at the Police Officers’ Mess and declared war against the Rivers State Government and Rivers people.
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