Ignore Ijaw demand for creation of fresh ward in Warri South, INYC tells Delta Government

The Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, Warri South Local Government Chapter, has


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Ignore Ijaw demand for creation of fresh ward in Warri South, INYC tells Delta Government


The Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, Warri South Local Government Chapter, has called on Delta State Government to ignore the demand for the creation of fresh ward in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State by the Ijaws, because: “The generic names of the original 13 Wards in the defunct Warri Division, later Warri Local Government Area, clearly shows that the Ijaws have no place in the current Warri South Local Government Area.”                                                          

 

The INYC, which listed communities of the 13 Wards in the defunct Warri Division as follows: “Ward One: Ode - Itsekiri, Orugbo, Orere, Omadino etc. (57 polling units) Ward Two: Ogbe - Ijoh, Isaba, Gbaramatu etc. (54 polling units) Ward Three: Gbokoda, Ogheye, Ekekporo, Ugogoegin, Ebrohimi etc. (46 polling units) Ward Four: Eghoro, Deghele, Bateren, Bresibe, Tisun etc. (30 polling units) Ward Five: Gborodo, Ogidigben, Madangho etc. (30 polling units) Ward Six: Koko, Ajagbodudu, Abe - Ugborodo etc. (21 polling units) Ward Seven: Ogbinbiri Ogbudugbudu, Opuama, Polobubo etc. (22 polling units) Ward Eight: Dimikporo, Right and Left of Robert Road, Ometan, Lower Erejuwa etc. (15 polling units) Ward Nine: Maciver Road, Odion Road, Cemetery Road etc. (16 polling units) Ward 10: Market Road, Ikpara Layout, Odion Road etc. (12 polling units) Ward 11: Upper Erejuwa, Okumagba Layout etc. (41 polling units) Ward 12: Okere, Hospital, Police Barrack, Edjeba, Ogunu etc. (29 polling units) and Ward 13: Odibo Street, Hausa Quarters, Essi Layout, Igbudu Market Road, Marine Quarters etc. (31 polling units)”, emphasized: “The Ijaws are aware that the leases of 1906, 1908 and 1911, legal instrument with which Chief Dore Numa and in some cases Chief Ogbe of Ugbuwangue, on behalf of the Itsekiri people, gave those lands, the Ijaws are illegally occupying in the present day Warri South to the Colonial Masters. Therefore by 2006, 2008 and 2011 respectively, these leases became legally terminated and naturally, the lands go back to the rightful owners, which are the Itsekiri people”.                                              

 

The position of the Itsekiri youth body in Warri South, was sequel to a communique released after an emergency meeting convened weekend in Okere Community, Warri, to review the recent protest by the Ijaws, demanding for a Ward to be created for them in Warri South.

 

The INYC meeting reportedly reviewed the claims of the Ijaws, in conjunction with the youth executive of all the communities sandwiching the area in question.

 

The communique signed by the Chairman, Warri South Chapter of INYC, Comrade Ofoyeju Izuagie and the Secretary, Comrade Jemi Ajemijeroma Mene Ejegi, stated: “The Ijaws cannot claim not to know that every other sub leases on the areas in question, derived their ownership right from the aforesaid principal leases. Therefore the Ijaws do not have ownership of any land in the areas in question. The 1964 Supreme Court judgment referenced SC/450/65 and most recently, the judgment of the Delta State High Court Sitting in Warri, Presided over by Justice Marshall Mukoro, permanently settled all issues on ownership of lands on these leases and bar the Ijaws from contemplating the claim of ownership of any land in Warri South. The judgement by the Delta State High Court, Warri, has not been challenged by the Ijaws from then till date.”

 

“From the delineation of the old 13 Wards and the associated communities captured in each of the wards by FEDECO (Federal Electoral Commission) it shows clearly that by August 27, 1991 when Delta State was created and the defunct Warri Local Government was divided into Warri North and Warri South, everything about the Ijaws in the defunct Warri Local Government Area, in terms of polling units, communities and wards, as exemplified in the then Ward 2, comprising of Ogbe - Ijoh, Isaba and Gbaramatu Communities, Ward 7, comprising of Ogbinbiri, Ogbudugbudu, Opuama, Polobubo Communities etc. were taken to the then Warri North Local Government Area. Hence erasing the Ijaw history in Warri South Local Government Area completely! Furthermore, in 1996, due to political exigencies, what is now known today as Warri South - West Local Government Area, was carved out from the old Warri North Local Government Area”, INYC stressed.

 

While insisting that it was polling units and communities associated with the then Wards 2 and 7, that gave birth to all the current polling units, communities and wards in the present Warri North and Warri South - West Local Government Areas, the communique noted: “The nomenclature; Ogbe - Ijoh Market, Ibo Market and Hausa Quarters in Warri South, Ijaw Quarters in Bendel Estate (DDPA) in Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta State and Ogbe - Ijoh Market in Onitsha, Anambra State, do not confer ownership of these places on any ethnic Nationality.”

 

INYC blamed the demand for creation of a new ward in Warri South by the Ijaws on: “The inability of government to completely enforce the then Commissioner of Special Duties, Conflict Resolution, Comrade Ovuozorie Macauley led Committee’s Recommendation/ Government White Paper on the illegal occupation of properties on the aforementioned leases, during the Warri crisis, whereas in line with government directives, Comrade Ovuozorie Macauley had completely paid all the illegal occupants. The affected Itsekiris after receiving their payments, were completely evacuated by government, while the Ijaws have not been evacuated.

 

“All over the world, it is the primary responsibility of government at all levels to ensure the protection of lives and property, enforce all government policies and decisions as well as judicial pronouncements. Let it be placed on record that the INYC has a compendium of the legal owners of all the properties of the leases, which is not different from the White Paper with government. While we acknowledge that in a democratic setting, peaceful protest by any group of persons is allowed, the reason put forward by the Ijaws in their demand for creation of additional ward in Warri South Local Government Area, was indeed laughable. It could be likened to the Itsekiris or the Urhobos going to Burutu Local Government Area to demand for ward. Since it is the illegal occupation that Ijaws are leveraging on to demand for polling units, communities and wards in Warri South Local Government Area, We are therefore calling on Delta State Government and authorities of the Nigerian Navy, to immediately evacuate all illegal occupants in properties found in the 1906 and 1908 leases without hesitation, to avert a looming catastrophe".



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Tonebsky Nesta is the pen name for Metsese Anthony Ebule, Co-Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
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