27 Jun 2024


Emily Igoerechinma

Finima Agitation is for Betterment of Bonny Kingdom, Stop Negativizing Us – Amadabo’s Aide

His tenure in office as Chairman of Finima Youth Congress (FYC) was quite an eventful one that saw a performance rating that was acclaimed as unprecedented in the annals of youth leadership. Technocrat, Pastor, Role Model and then some, Charles Isobonye Brown has always remained forthright in his posturing to critical issues.

In this interview with Kristina Reports Community Correspondent, Emily Igoerechinma, Brown, who is now the Chief of Staff to the Amadabo of Finima addresses issues raised in a statement made earlier today by the Chairman of the Bonny Kingdom Ogbobiri Asawo on the blockade of the NLNG Train 7 project site by Finima Community. Enjoy!  

Chief of Staff to Amadabo of Finima, Charles Brown

Kristina Reports: The Ogbobiri Asawo of Bonny Kingdom just released a statement regarding the blockade of the Train 7 site by Finima Community since yesterday morning and if we are to sum up the statement, like the one that every grievance that any community in Bonny has should be channelled through the Amanyanabo of Bonny as the supreme authority in Bonny Kingdom, which Finima is a part of, then secondly, they are saying the incessant blockade of the Train 7 site does not bode well for the posture of putting up Bonny as a destination of choice for tourism, for investments and all of that. How do you react to this?

Charles Brown: Well, the statement they came up with is fallacious and misleading because they’re not putting up the fact. Now, I want to state it categorically that Finima is part and parcel of Bonny LGA, we’re part and parcel of Bonny Kingdom. However, we’re under the laws of the federal republic of Nigeria that supersedes every other law in this country. Now there are relevant laws that have been put in place. We have the local content laws, the CCG; these are in the public view and if a company operating in our land is violating, willfully, purposefully violating the law and we have done everything to call their attention to relevant sections of the law they are violating, which is the benefits that we are supposed to have; number one, as Finima people, number two, as Bonny people in general, we expect the Ogbobiri Asawo to tell Bonny people the truth and not to be seen as people that are being used to tell false narratives, deceiving the youths of Bonny and people of Bonny. It’s a shame. I see it as a shame and I’m not apologetic about it because they are not sincere.

When the Finima people were attacked, houses burnt, properties looted, people sustained life threatening injuries, where was the Ogbobiri Asawo? Until today, no single institution, both the traditional institution condemned the wicked act that was perpetrated by the people of Bonny. Those actions were perpetrated by our own brothers and no institution has stood up till today to condemn it or even to show a little bit of concern to the people that almost lost their lives. Some of them their eyes are blind till today, some of them are lame till today. Where was the Ogbobiri Asawo then? From that time till today.

The Finima people including the Bonny people in general have been neglected. How much is the Train 7 paying people today? Do you think that this Train 7 is adding value to Bonny youths? No! But the Ogbobiri Asawo allows itself as an institution to be used in the wrong dimension. They should be ashamed because tomorrow history will never be on their part. They should come out and tell Bonny people the truth and not to be deceiving people.

When you say the statement by the Ogbobiri Asawo is fallacious and misleading, can you throw a little more light on it? What aspects of their statement is fallacious and what is the true story from your own perspective?

They made reference to when we went to the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Ogbobiri Asawo Chairman wasn’t there. I was physically there. There was no time whatsoever that they told us to go and meet the King to resolve our matter, never! It was Dr. Farah – he listens to your news, he sees your news – so, I believe he will see this one. Let him come and corroborate or say that what I’m saying is wrong. He was the one that stood up and said he was going to handle this matter. Of course, no good result came out of it. So, there was never a time anything of such was said by the House. I was physically present there. The Ogbobiri Asawo Chairman was not present there. So, he cannot come and tell Bonny people what never happened. Those are lies and he should be ashamed that he is telling a lie at his age. He should fear God, he should fear God and stop deceiving people.

So, that is and what we are fighting for? What are the Finima people agitating for? A protest is going on, it’s very, very peaceful. What we are fighting for is not for only Finima people alone, we are fighting for the generality of Bonny people. Let’s look at the great things that God has blessed Bonny with, but is it reflecting in the life of people? Let me put it on record, Bonny has highest in one of the highest batcher houses in the whole of the Niger Delta, yet look at all the multinational companies, and our leaders are happy that people are poor. What kind of attitude is that?

Charles Brown

The demands that are being made are not just for Finima Community. Is Finima Community the first community to protest? No! The other day, Bonny Youth Federation went and conducted a protest in front of Shell. Why didn’t Ogbobiri Asawo go there and ask why are they disturbing? The other day it was Ijaw Youth Congress at the same H Block. Why didn’t the Ogbobiri Asawo write and say why are they going to protest? When it comes to Finima, all hell will break loose. Why the hatred against us? When we are fighting even for their own children that they gave birth to. What is it that we are fighting for? We are not fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for the generality of Bonny. What we need now is solidarity. They should join us and achieve a good thing for this Kingdom that everybody will receive the blessing and not to come out and start deceiving people.

One of the observations people have made including that of the Chairman of Tobin House yesterday is that when Finima Community, especially the Brown House was to do something that they hardly consult with other of their kinsmen whether in Finima or across Bonny. Don’t you think this may be part of the concern that the Ogbobiri Asawo is raising?

Well, if the Ogbobiri Asawo is drawing from that notion, it is totally wrong because if you come to the gate (H Block Gate) where the protest is holding today, you will see the Tobins and Attonis. As a matter of fact, we have been having meetings with the NLNG and the SCD JV and the Tobins and the Attonis are well represented in those meetings. So, if all the Finima people in this world are not told about the protest that doesn’t mean the protest cannot hold. There is nowhere that it is impossible to inform all the Tobins and Attonis and Browns about the protest before protest will go ahead. The question we should ask ourselves is, this protest, is it a selfish protest or it is a protest that will be for the total good of Finima or the whole of Bonny as an LGA? Those are the most important things.

When you say the Tobins, the Attonis and everybody in Finima is involved, are you saying that the leadership of the three Houses are in on the decision to go and picket the H Block of the Train 7?

Well firstly, this protest is organized by the youths, that is why if you come today, you will not see the leadership. The youths of Finima Community, I am talking about the Finima Youth Congress and, of course, the Asawo are the leaders of this protest and all their peers were put in copy. So, it is not a consultation with leadership thing.

So, you are saying that the protest is within the Asawo of the three Houses, coordinated by the FYC are the people organizing that protest?

Absolutely correct.

If you are to advise the Bonny Kingdom Ogbobiri Asawo, what would you advise as the way to go in responding to issues like this?

Good, the first thing is if they lack understanding, they should ask the people who are involved. Check more facts before going to the public so that you don’t mislead innocent people. The last time the people were attacked, why? It’s because the people were misinformed. Some of them came to attack Finima people but they don’t even know why they were attacking Finima people. When they later realized the reason, they were apologetic but, of course, the harm has been done.

Number one, they should learn how to find the facts. They shouldn’t be used in the hands of people that don’t mean well for this LGA. Number two, I expect them, having known history, they should come and join us in solidarity with the protest; to join us, to show support, because what we are doing is for their benefit. This train is 65% complete, what is the benefit to the average Bonny youth? This train is 65% complete, how much economic relevance has it brought to Bonny. This train is 65% complete, how many Bonny youths are working? Finima people are protesting today, of what benefit is what they are asking for? These are questions that people should ask and not going to the Media to deceive people and misinform people. So, that is my advice to them.

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