Immature Politicians Setting Rivers On Fire, Says Horsfall
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, January 15, (THEWILL) - The pioneer chairman of defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), Chief Albert Horsfall, on Wednesday accused those he described as immature politicians in the country of setting River State on fire.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Horsfall, said a new breed of immature politicians is working hard to set Rivers State aflame.
His statement read in part: 'Once again, the politicians are setting Rivers State on fire.
In year 2000, when similar developments started during an earlier administration in the Rivers State, I was forced to issue a statement titled 'Stop This Madness'.
This followed series of assassinations and attempted assassinations, arson and sponsored inter communal violent clashes.
These series of events were the handwork of misguided and mischievous politicians of that time.
Now once again, a new breed of immature politicians is working hard to set Rivers State aflame.
'As an elder statesman not involved in current partisan politics, my main interest is to advice and caution against the repeat of some of the irresponsible practices which in the past had landed Rivers State and even Nigeria in serious turmoil and bloodshed; and indeed to protect the interest and wellbeing of the ordinary Rivers people from the repeat of similar sad events of the recent past.
'I had commented on earlier events which happened largely in 2012/2013 such as the one on the alleged quarrels between Governor Rotimi Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan over the activities of Nigeria Governors Forum, etc.
'The latest in the series of regrettable events appear centered on two issues, namely the issue of Soku oil wells and the political activities in Rivers State, of the newly created All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by leaders of these parties, Amaechi and his group and Wike and his group.
' The elder statesman also spoke on the issue of Suku Oil Wells.
'The issue of Soku oil wells and the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states have been the subject of recent statements by both governments.
'Looking at the respective statements, the Bayelsans claim that the areas involved had been ceded to Bayelsa by an administrative map of Nigeria issued in 2000.
The Rivers Government countered by saying that the alleged map of 2,000 was fraudulent.
They claim that the historical boundary of Rivers and Bayelsa States in that sector was the Santa Barbara River, whereas the map of 2000 had fraudulently shifted the boundary to San Bartholomew River.
'To the unbiased observer, it seems the alterations from the original boundary to a new one in year 2000 must be questionable; but one wonders why the Rivers State side which claim that they received an apology over the alteration of 2,000 from the National Boundary Commission (NBC), not taken sufficient and effective action to correct the situation since 2,000? 'The matter now seems to be further exacerbated by the issue of oil proceeds from the disputed oil wells and as to which state ought to receive these payments.
'Ordinarily, the people in these areas of the two neighbouring states are all Ijaws and therefore brothers.
Whereas the two governments will be more interested in allocation of the oil proceeds, these communities are in fact rather interested in territories and peoples.
'The communities concerned have for several hundred years been indigenes of Kalabari or Nembe as the case may be.
Therefore, what these communities are interested in is to return to the status quo ante so that those who are Kalabari will remain in Kalabari territory and those who are Nembe will remain in Nembe territory, pure and simple.
'I am therefore calling on President Godluck Jonathan to intervene and either restore the position as they were before the disputed administrative map of 2000 or to order a stay of action on both sides in claiming and counter claiming one position or the other until an amicable and agreeable solution has been found to the issue by a competent Tribunal or court of law,' the statement said.
On the recent political fracas in Rivers State, Horsfall said: 'I had earlier in 2013 issued a statement condemning the attempt to rekindle youth violence in Rivers State.
I drew attention to that when it was alleged that former militants, many of who had peacefully retired to the background from their militant activities, had resumed useful occupations and even religious practices, and in some cases become pastors in their newly found religion, were back on the streets.
'Apparently, my advice had never been heeded because it would appear that many of these elements are still being encouraged by politicians to return to their previous activities in support of partisan politics.
This, to say the least, is regrettable.
Politicians of both side will do well to practice politics as we understand it, canvass for votes, mount rallies, picket individuals and groups for their own interest etc.
'To discover that as it appears now, both parties are once again instigating and supporting political violence and even getting the Nigeria Police allegedly involved in favour of one party or the other is bad politics and therefore condemnable.
The latest violent event is the one that led to the alleged shooting with rubber bullets of a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic.
Surely such inimical practices are not good politics, not in anyone`s interest and must stop immediately.
'The Nigeria Police even in the days of some of the worst tensions in this country such as led to the civil war had usually been seen to be impartial and professional.
' The elder statesman said 'One again, the time has come to call on the police authorities to insulate their personnel at all level from being involved in these alleged acts and to maintain their usual good integrity and impartiality especially in this matter of partisan politics.
' He added: 'Also we must advice political parties not to encourage their members to break the law like the recent case of the legislator who allegedly brazenly and willfully allowed his car to be used to crush a serving police officer and an alleged political opponent to death, which events led the police to release the questionable story that the legislator, then tried to flee from justice via the state government`s owned private jet.
That must be properly investigated and the culprits brought speedily to book.
'I appeal to all sides to allow peace to reign in Rivers state and allow the ordinary folks of the state to go about their daily lives without fear of violence and unnecessary tension.
'I will want to conclude by saying that politics is for politicians.
Both sides are free to play politics according to the rules.
But don`t bring the police into politics and don't play politics with the police.