By Constance Meju
High Chief Dr. Omubo Atuboinoma Harry
Members of the South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria, hosted their 2019 end of year cum merit award ceremony on Thursday, December 19, 2019.
The very colourful event which held at the Nigeria Bar Association Hall, Moscow Rd Port Harcourt, attracted personalities and members from the Niger Delta states as well as Lagos and Abuja.
Focus was on, “Key Policy on the Eradication of Poverty within the South South States of the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria” highlighted in a welcome address by the national chairman of the association, High Chief Dr. Omubo Atuboinoma Harry, into a demand for a practical approach to poverty eradication focusing fully on communities through agriculture, rural industry and development of township enterprises.
Chief Harry lamented that progressively, poverty is ravishing the rural folks of the oil rich region, pointing out that the mission of the association is to, “proffer socio-economic transformations within the grassroots in the region in partnership with philanthropic establishments within and outside the Niger Delta to eradicate absolute poverty among the families in the communities.”
As a group best placed to follow developments in this regard, he said the association carefully observed and selected the OB Lulu-Briggs Foundation, the Omega Pentecostal Ministries, OPM, Engineer Tein Seleye Fubara Jack-Rich, CEO of Belema Oil and Minds Development Initiative, MDI for the merit awards in recognition of their individual efforts to improve the lives of South South citizens.
A keynote addresson ‘The missing Link in the Fight Against Poverty’ presented by an elder of the association, Engineer Cyril Harry blamed the scheming out of communities from the wealth creation through what he called ‘‘asset striping and the creation of internally displaced persons, cultural poverty and alienation from the wealth of the land’’.
Harry lamented that communities have become economically dislodged.
He said poverty and fear of land grabbing by government has forced communities to sell off their lands opening them up for more poverty.
He called for a rural communities’ bill of rights which should contain right to self-management, sharing of both oil revenue and a percentage of local government funds as well asapplication of equity sharing rather than land acquisition which totally removes ownership completely from community people.
Under the proposed arrangement, communities should, he suggested, take care of provision of such services as primary healthcare services, primary and secondary school education, community infrastructural development and wealth generation programs to transform the grassroots.
Awardees expressed appreciation that their work is being noticed and promised to keep helping lift lives out of poverty.
The occasion also featured the confirmation of Ogbikiana Sampson Gogo as chairman Lagos state chapter and Deaconess Catherine Nkechi Oghide as the national woman leader.Delegates came from Lagos, Abuja, Bayelsa, cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo and Delta states.
Chief Constance Meju
The occasion was chaired by the grand patron of the South South Chiefs, Elders and Opinion Leaders Association of Nigeria grand patron, , HRH Obong Dr. Essien Udo Ekidem, Ntisong Ibibio 111 and Prof. Charles Quaker Pedro, SSA to the president on Niger Delta Affairs and coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme was special guest of honuor. HRH Mene Dr.Taloor Torwe VI of Khana kingdom was among the distinguished dignitaries on the high table.
*Pictures by Gift Jonah
#End Niger Delta Poverty#