Umukwata Community, Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State has distanced itself from the Executive Bill sent by Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the Governor of the state to the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) and subsequently passed into law on 9th November, 2016.
It was gathered that a very wealthy and prominent Deltan from the community has bought the state governor over to change the system from gerontocracy to monarchical, a situation the community did not give its consent to.
In a protest letter dated 10th of November, 2016 and signed by Mr Andrew Oghonoghor to the governor through the Speaker, Monday Igbuya, the community said, “we the members of Umukwata Community wish to bring to the general public and the Delta State government in particular that we never agreed to the change of our Community Umukwata declaration from Okpla-Uku to Ukwata of Umukwata.
The community stresses that they are never a party to the change, “this protest letter plus many others written to you and the one written by our lawyer to you and the Speaker of the House of Assembly stating the obvious that we are never a part of changing our community Declaration”.
The Bill which was sent to the House was hurriedly passed with the consent of the community, neither did it pass through public hearing, “one wonder why such a bill was sent to the House of Assembly and hurriedly passed into law while the matter is subject to litigation and also without following the process”.
“Are we not part of this Delta State, Society or your Government? If we are to be treated this way, having notified you of all the impediments surrounding this. Will this action not amount to forcefully change our declaration without our consent in a democratic society? They asked.
The peace loving and abiding community said, “for the sake of peace in our community and Delta State at large, we want you to urgently withhold such a bill passed, not to be signed into law”, pointing out that, “as you are aware, the matter in question is pending in the Court of Appeal Benin City and the Delta State government and the State House of Assembly are parties in this matter”, the community recall.
According to the letter, “if the government is seen not to be respecting the law, one wonder what message is being sent to the general public”.
Reminding the governor on the Oath of office he took, the letter also stated, “we therefore implore you our Dear and God fearing Governor not to allow sectional interest to mislead you but the interest of the generality of Umukwata people must be considered. Umukwata people must be protected by you and not for a sectional interest alone. This we believe is the oath of office you took which must be adhere to”, the community warned.
The community which pledge its commitment to the peace of the state said, “We count on you, our Excellency as we remain committed to the peace of the state to follow due process as to avoid crisis and anarchy in our God given community”.
The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Peter Mrakpor who aligned himself with the community at the ongoing Ministerial Press Briefing said, “The matter is in court. All I know is the issue of proper procedure should be followed”.
It would be recall that Okowa has also boycotted a judgment passed in favour of one Gideon Nwaomu, owner of Giddys Place by the High Court II sitting in Ughelli on the destruction of his business premises and slammed a N200 million fine on the state which the governor has continued to flout by running to the Appeal Court to seek cover.