The ancient city of Abonnema in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State was recently agog, as the people gathered in their numbers to commemorate God’s protection and faithfulness during the Nigerian Civil War.
Since after the war, every June 21 has been observed as remembrance day, the day they were liberated from the then Biafran soldiers who besieged the city during the war in the year 1968.
According to the Amanyanabo and Paramount Ruler of Abonnema, HM, King Disreal Gbobo II, Owukori IX, during a Church service at St. Paul’s Nyemoni Church, Abonnema, it has become a norm for Abonnema people to thank God for his love and mercy in the lives of Abonnema people.
The monarch said it is very crucial to acknowledge God’s presence in Abonnema as He did not allow the plans of the enemies to come to pass, adding that the citizens of Abonnema were dehumanized when all forms of atrocities were meted on them by the Biafran soldiers in the name of war, and that Abonnema was worst hit during the war as they were bombed twice by the Biafran army and the federal troops.
He said the word Ga’a Niger or Go To Niger came to play when the people of Abonnema were to be evacuated to a strange land by the Biafran soldiers and were asked to “Go To Niger” the point of evacuation before the federal troop came to their rescue.
While calling on the federal government to treat every part of the country equally, he advised the people to do away with anything that is capable of causing disunity because war is not something any right thinking person would pray for, as it is associated with agony.
King Disreal also frowned on the state of Abonnema as it used to be a commercial hub when the Abonnema seaport was in existence, saying with the activities of the oil companies all that has gone, leaving the place a shadow of itself.
He called on the federal government to come to their aid as their source of livelihood has been blocked by oil activities and requested for the resuscitation of the seaport. He also suggested that a university or polytechnic and companies be located in the area so as to curb youth restiveness in the area.
Hon. Rowland Sekibo, the Council Chairman in his speech said the event was to commemorate the day the Abonnema people were freed from military invaders.
The Council Boss gave kudos to those that fought for the unity of this country, noting that there is strength in diversity and urged the government in place to make the country a better place for everyone.
Highlights of the event were laying of wreath, dramatizing the agony they faced during the war and the unveiling of the Abonnema Boat Club (ABC).