SECRETARY to the Delta State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macualay, spoke to our news agency, in Asaba, on the latest threat to the security of the state by the most wanted kidnapper and armed robbery kingpin in the state, Kelvin.
The linchpin, who has been on the wanted list of the police in the state, appeared from the blues, last Tuesday, and issued a 60-day ultimatum to the State and Federal Governments to develop Kokori, his community in Ethiope East Local Government or his new group, Liberation Movement of the Urhobo People, LIMUP, would blow up oil facilities in the area.
The SSG said Kokori community has had its fair share of development in the state and the state government could not employ all Deltans. But it is, however, creating necessary environment for the private sector provide employment for the people, while unemployment is not, and cannot the basis for kidnapping and others forms of criminality. Excerpt.
FOR some months now, one can say that the incident of kidnapping has reduced in Delta State; will you say the strategies put in place by government are working?
Straightaway, I will say yes, the strategies the government had put in place are working. For a very long time, we felt the boys could see reason not to do what they were doing. If you remember, the governor was more on the part of appeal, he called various stakeholders meetings, called community leaders across the state, traditional rulers across the state, as well as youths.
He went on appealing to them. But I can tell you, nobody was ready to cooperate, either for fear of what will happen to them if they bring up information concerning any of their people or on the hand, some of them are collaborators because of the benefit they are getting. So the governor went back and took certain steps, which I believe are being implemented today.
But it looks as if there is going to be problem soon, as one of the most wanted kidnappers in the state, Kelvin, not only resurfaced in Kokori, his country home, last Tuesday, but dared the government by giving them a 60-day ultimatum to develop Kokori or his group, would blow up oil facilities in his area?
Well, I am happy you used the word one of the most wanted kidnappers in the state. It is a known fact that there is a Kelvin, who is terrorizing the state. He has very wide outreach of fellow criminals spread across the state.
For some time, he was on the run, the police had declared him wanted and I hear he had suddenly appeared and issued a threat. Well, he had issued a threat to the federal government and I want to believe that the federal government has the capacity to deal with the threat.
The major ground for the threat is that Kokori is not developed, what is your take on this?
First, we must differentiate these issues, how do you relate the issue of no development to criminality. It is a clear case that these people are carrying out criminal activities, kidnapping people, am sure that some Kokori people have also suffered in his hands. I remember the man, who is now the traditional ruler of his kingdom, His Royal Majesty Omeruo, once suffered in the hands of kidnappers.
I know that some time, early this year, one of their boys called Oyibo from Kokori was also killed. So why did they kill Oyibo, is that development in Kokori is only in his house, that is why they went to attack, kill him and others. So, we should not relate criminality with the issue of development.
There is not part of this country that is not talking about underdevelopment, even in the federal capital territory, Abuja, everybody is talking about underdevelopment, but the answer to it is not criminality. Having said that, I want to talk pointedly on whether Kokori is developed or is not developed, today, I know that Kokori has network of roads.
The things that people in other parts of the state are benefitting, Kokori is equally benefitting it. I know that we have a Housing Estate, close to former Commissioner Ojakovo’s house, also in that area, you know, Kokori is just a small town in Agbon clan, Ethiope East Local Government Area, which has Isiokolo as headquarters.
People in virtually all administrations
The whole Agbon clan is one and so, you cannot just talk about Kokori with a population of between 100,000 to 150,000 people alone. You cannot isolate it and they have produced people in virtually all the administrations. Ojakovo, the former Commissioner for Finance, one –time Commissioner for Housing is from there, the present Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, George Orogun is from there, Rt Hon Emeyese, who was a member of the House of Assembly for eight years before he became a member of the National Assembly is from there.
The present Commissioner for Finance is from there, a lot of their sons and daughters have been in government, so it will be out of place for a Kokori person or any person from that local government, Ethiope East, particularly Agbon clan, to come and complain that his area is not being developed.
It is one of the areas that have the best network of roads in the state today, and by the way, after oil was found in Oloibiri in 1958 in this country, the next place where oil was found is Uzere.
Uzere boys have not taken to kidnapping because Uzere is not fully developed, a gas station is in Uzere up till today, and some of the biggest wells in this country are still in Uzere till today. So will Uzere say that because they did not put air conditioner in every street, the sons and daughters of the state and people who come to invest in the state should not have peace?
So I think it is a diversion, but as I said earlier, I believe that the federal government has the capacity to deal with it. So, what is the state government doing to reign in Kelvin because there are jitters over his threat?
When you use the word state government, I have always explained, we must get our facts right, when you talk about the state government, you are talking about the governor of the state, his cabinet, legislators, judiciary, as different from the security agencies.
This is purely the job of the security agencies, the governor does not have an army of its own, and he neither controls the police, the army, nor navy.
So, you should be talking about the security agencies, government can only give support in terms of logistics to these agencies. And you will bear witness with me that in the whole of this country, and I want to be corrected and challenged by anybody, that there is no state, including the federal government, that has given the type of assistance that we give to our security agencies.
Whether vehicles, logistics, name them, we give them as they ask for it, the only thing we do not do for them in this state is that we do not pay their salaries.