As the controversy over who owns Soku oil wells deepens between Rivers and Bayelsa States' Governments, Former Minister of Petroleum Resources and rights activist Professor Tam David-West has urged President Goodluck Jonathan (who is a Bayelsa State indigene) to leave the controversial oil wells in Rivers State, the known historical owners of Soku.
Professor David-West also averred that the people of Kalabari kingdom (Soku is part of Kalabari land) are prepared to fight the Presidency over the ceding of Soku oil wells to Bayelsa State at every level. No part of Kalabari Kingdom will be allowed to be ceded to any other part of the country, he added and revealed that the Kalabari oceanic communities of Kula, Soku, Idama, Elem-Sangama and Abisse have existed for over 300 years in Rivers State.
David-West disclosed this on Friday while leading a delegation of kings, chiefs, elders, youths and representatives of the Occeanic Communities of Akuku-Toru local government area in Rivers State on a solidarity visit on the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in Port Harcourt.
"I thank you, Governor Amaechi particularly on what you have been doing for the Kalabari Kingdom," Prof. David-West said. "Unfortunately, some of our brothers and leaders don’t understand this. I know what you are going through. But, why should an Ikwerre Governor be sacrificed, for saying that, don’t take away Kalabari Communities from Rivers to Bayelsa State.
"Kalabari people need to go round such person and carry him high. When Nnamdi Azikiwe came to Port Harcourt, I remember, we carried him and I think, every kalabari person should be carrying Amaechi high to replicate the kind gesture. I learnt of a new word for the Oceanic communities in the Kalabari Kingdom, those are the original Kalabari settlements.
"So, the Oceanic communities are older than, Buguma, Abonnema and Degema. The communities called, Oceanic communities have been existing for over 300 years of Kalabari history, and over the years, our forefathers fought to maintain the integrity of the Kalabari kingdom. And, any one that is dismantling it now, whether from Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto or Bayelsa State, will never succeed. Our ancestors fought also with Canon guns to protect these territories, but, at this time, we have other implements to fight the struggle.
"Truth, only has one version, all the time they are shifting the boundaries to their favour with some Kalabari Chiefs, who were secretly approached to sign documents to cede all these territories to Bayelsa state. But, they cannot change the fact that, the controversial oil well territories belongs to the Kalabari people.
"This is because if you plan evil or attempt to ruin the Kalabari land of its natural resources, the gods, our ancestors will not allow you. Bayelsa state was created in 1996, and the boundary was created between us at the Santa Barbara river. It has now been moved to the San Bartholomew river.
"If they allow that, then, Abonnema and Idama will be in Bayelsa state. This is what is coming and I tell you stop it now, because God will not allow it to happen. We must go back to the colonial boundary which was impartial. If you rig election to be in office, tomorrow, you may not be there, but these records will be there forever. And, it is left to us Kalabari sons and daughters to support all those fighting for our course."