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Gbaramatu residents recount ordeal after 15years of deadly military aerial bombing

Gbaramatu military invasion



By Miracle Esegha, Warri

Residents of the ancient Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State have continued to count their ordeal after 15 years of deadly military aerial bombings of communities in the kingdom.

The people, after the horrible military onslaught, had chosen May 15 of every year to celebrate and mark freedom day to reunite themselves in the kingdom.

It would be recalled that on 15th May 2009, the Gbaramatu kingdom came under a severe military attack where over 40 communities were bombed to rubble, leading to the killing of dozens of residents, including children, women, youths, and aged people.

The bombardment continued for over a week as survivors were trapped in the mangrove forest without food, water and shelter. Many lost loved ones, children, husbands, wives and total life savings. That was a time when the Nigerian military declared total war against the Ijaw people in Niger Delta. No male youth was spared. The Nigerian military branded every young Ijaw youth militant and many innocent youths lost their lives without knowing what was happening.

This was a wrong response to the Movement For The Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND’s continuous demand for a fair share of the resources of the Niger Delta. The innocent youths and men became a target when the military at some point was defeated by the youths of the Niger Delta agitating for resource control and self-determination.

The Gbaramatu kingdom suffered multiple and excruciating attacks, and the international community at some points condemned the lawlessness of the Nigerian military. Life has never been the same after 15 years of that military bombardment in the kingdom. The government refused to assist innocently trapped residents and that increased the catastrophe.

Despite 15 years after of the military onslaught, the residents still called on the Nigerian federal government to come and compensate victims of all losses. Shortly after the incident, the survivors dragged the Nigerian government to Delta State federal high court, and the court awarded N99 billion in damages against the Nigerian government. The Court expressly stated that the federal government and Nigerian military should pay the Gbaramatu kingdom the said N99 billion.

During this year’s celebration of survival day, the kingdom thanked God for his mercy and grace upon them. Expressing optimism that things in the kingdom would be normalized with time.

They equally called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to obey the supreme court order and commence fresh ward delineation in the Warri, Three Local Government Areas in Delta State.