Former president of Nyemoni Improvement Society (NIS), Mr. Kio Clement Bestman, has stressed the need for full involvement of all key stakeholders in Akuku-Toru to deepen the peace that is gradually returning to the LGA after the violence that rocked the town of Abonnema and her environs during the last general elections.
Speaking with Kalabari Times on Tuesday, 8th October, 2019, in Port Harcourt, Kio Bestman, who fully participated in the Akuku-Toru Peace and Security Conference held recently in Abonnema under the auspices of the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, said although peace is gradually returning to the area, all major gladiators should be committed to making it last.
“Peace is gradually coming into the community but we need further engagement of the gladiators that are physical, through their own relationship with this team of youths, men and women, boys and girls that are being used to disrupt the peace of the place, who need to understand that it should be Abonnema first, Kula first, Elem Sangama first before I.”
On the effort the committee on the report of the conference proceedings is making to ensure that the recommendations of the speakers and resource persons at the peace and security conference are implemented, Mr. Bestman said he believes that the report of the proceedings of the conference would be out in two weeks time.
“And when it is out, all and sundry will buy into it and all actions taken into place are expected to commence immediately. But peace is not cheap. There must be funds available for active publicity to know that what happened (the electoral violence of February 23, 2019) should not occur again forever and ever,” he explained.
On whether moves are being made to ensure that the army, which played a key role in the incident of February 23, 2019, cooperate with the people of Abonnema in their quest for permanent peace in the area, Kio, a former board member of National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, said: “In accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the military does not report to any civilian administration. They report directly to the Commander-In-Chief. So we cannot summon the military to such a conference without getting clearance from their headquarters. Moreover, the governor of the state is the chairman of the state security council in which the commanders of the different arms of the armed forces are constantly present. So, there is a window for him to dialogue with them further and to have a constant touch.”
Bestman advised the people of Akuku-Toru LGA to work hard to change their present status while calling on the government, corporate organizations and well-meaning individuals to provide infrastructures that will facilitate the establishment of small scale industries in the area to create jobs for the youths for their continued sustenance even when crude oil dries up in the future.
“My message for the people of Akuku-Toru LGA is that they should work hard to change the position they are, ensuring that we have the structure that will lead to small scale industries, growth in all the communities that is sustainable when there is no oil and gas available in our local government area,” he said.