Wakama Community is located in Ogu-Bolo local government area of Rivers State. Its neighbouring communities are Kporgho, Kira, Bolo, and Gio communities. The traditional language of the Wakama people is ‘Okrika’.
Wakama is currently embroiled in a land dispute with neighbouring Kporgho community. This has led to the loss of lives and property as both communities have refused to compromise for the benefit of lasting peace.
This dispute has lasted for over 2years, and so far about 9 persons have been killed in Wakama community; about 3 houses have been burnt; the bus of a retired health worker was also burnt; Nursery and Primary Schools have been vandalized and no educational activity is going on in both communities.
Hundreds of residents of both communities have been displaced and have fled to neighbouring communities. As at the last count, there are less than hundred residents in Wakama Community.
The SCEEP (Strengthening Citizens’ Engagement with the Electoral Process) project is organized by Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) in collaboration with Action AID Nigeria. It is aimed at developing the capacity of citizens to get involved in governance and demand for better services from their duty bearers.
The project trained residents of Wakama community to identify the challenges facing their communities as well as come up with sustainable solutions to address these problems. Youth Leader, Mr Wakama Zacchaeus said, “the SCEEP project was different from other projects I have previously been part of because it was very solution-oriented and made us create our own solutions…”
However, despite the impact of the training the SCEEP project had on the residents, the current land dispute continues unabated. Many individuals have been displaced from their homes and many more have lost their means of livelihoods due to reprisal attacks from both communities.
Mr Zacchaeus stated that efforts have been made by the SCEEP Wakama Advocacy group to reach its representatives at the Local and State Governments levels but they are yet to receive any feedback from them. The major challenge facing the advocacy group, Mr Zacchaeus said, is the fact that, “…the current violent clash in the community has made it difficult for the group to meet and collaborate to bring a solution to the dispute. We are just scattered and currently working individually”.
Thus the advocacy group is not giving up yet as it is still pushing and deploying every means in her itinerary to ensuring there is lasting solution to their present situation. They have resolved to keep mounting pressure on their duty bearers and to keep speaking to relevant authorities until there is an intervention from them.
The Advocacy Group calls on the government and other relevant stakeholders to come to the aid of Wakama Community as it works towards resolving the on-going dispute with Kporgho community.