By Dayo Johnson, Akure
THE opposition to the demand for the proposed creation of Toru- Ibe State took a new dimension as the Ijaw weekend submitted that they are no tenants to any other nationality in the Niger Delta.
The Ijaw under the auspices of Arogbo Ijaw Community Organisation was reacting to a publication by the Benin, Ilaje and Itsekiri Forum restating their opposition to the demand for the creation of the state.
The organisation, in a statement in Akure by its Chairman, Evangelist Nathaniel Ege, and Publicity Secretary, Suffy Uguoji, said the submission was unfortunate.
“The demand for Toru-Ibe State is consistent with the critical issues of the Ijaw question in Nigeria which is Ijaw self-determination and unity,” it said.
“ All the Ijaw territories in the proposed state are culturally homogeneous and geographically contiguous.
”The demand for the proposed Toru-Ibe State has an accompanying map showing the configuration of the territory of the state which does not include any Benin, Itsekiri or Ilaje community.
”That the Ijaw struggle for self-determination has spanned several millennial”.
The organisation asked those opposed to the state creation to “ prove their case with documents within a short time to convince the public that Ijaw are actually their tenants.”
According to it, the Ijaw in Ondo State occupy their own separate and distinct local government area (Ese-Odo) with clearly defined boundaries over which their traditional rulers have traditional jurispudence overland and other means.
” It must be noted also that Ese Odo local government is recognised by the constitution and has been in existence for years as one of the 774 local government areas in the country.
”It is therefore naïve for any group of people to wake up one dat and call the Arogbo Ijaw their tenants.
They appealed to the state government to call the Ilaje to order so as to put this matter to rest.”