The people of the Bonny Kingdom in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State have been ruffling feathers with the people of the Asarama community in the Andoni LGA of the state.
This follows the Asarama community’s threat to stage a peaceful protest over alleged marginalization by Julius Berger PLC, handlers of the ongoing Bodo-Bonny Road project.
The Chairman of Asarawa Divisional Council of Chiefs, Chief MacMoses Jiawairekong, had, during a press conference recently alleged that since construction work began on the Bodo-Bonny Road project, Julius Berger PLC had allegedly refused to recognise them as host community despite tendering several proofs.
However, the Bodo–Bonny Road Liaison Committee of the Bonny Kingdom, while reacting to Jiawairekong’s claim in a statement made available to our correspondent in Uyo, on Monday said that no community known as Asarama community or any other known Andoni traditional community exist along the ongoing Bodo-Bonny Road project route.
The statement signed by Barr. Se-Alabo Waripanye Val Pepple, on behalf of BBRLC, the committee set up by the Amanyanabo-in-Council to liaise, monitor, appraise and report the progress, obstacles and successes on the ongoing Bodo-Bonny Road project, described Jawairekong’s claim as “spurious, unfounded and indefensible”.
According to the statement, “The road project take-off point is at Bodo in the Ogoni territory through the Opobo Channel or otherwise called Asarama-Toru all in Bonny Land and territory and not Andoni land or territory.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known, and clearly too, that the Boundary between Bonny Kingdom and Andoni and ipso facto between Bonny Local Government Area and Andoni Local Government Area is the Andoni River, also locally known and called as Idoni Toru and nothing more.
“The Opobo channel which is also known as Asarama Toru is a Channel or River course leading to Opobo via Asarama Community. There is no doubt that there are some fishing settlements, harbouring some Andoni fishermen from Asarama and other Andoni Communities.
“This settlement status does not give nor accord the Asarama Community or any other Andoni Community any right of claim over land or territory along the Bodo-Bonny Road Project, as they are mere tenants to Bonny landowners”.
The committee, therefore, called on the people, especially Julius Berger Plc, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and other stakeholders on the Bodo-Bonny Road project to “disregard and discountenance the misinformed threat allegedly credited to the Chairman of Asarama Divisional Chiefs Council, one Chief Mark Moses Isaiah Jawakon, that Opobo Channel or Asara-Toru belongs to Asarama in Andoni Local Government Area as there was no basis for such ridiculous and bogus claim”.
It warned Asarama people and their Andoni neighbours not to truncate nor constitute themselves as a clog in the wheel of the road development to Bonny which, according to them, was aimed at making Bonny equally accessible by road, like other riverine communities in the state.
“This, we repeat, does not give any right of claim or grandstanding posture which the Asarama Council of Chiefs appears to display, lay claim or make demands,” the committee added.