By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Itsekiri community in Edo State has described as untrue the allegation that they were laying claim to the ownership of Gelegele community in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of the state.
The people said they have enjoyed close relationship with the Benin people, who they have strong historical and cultural ties with over the years.
The Itsekiri community was reacting to a protest last week led by one Chief Odion Olaye, alleging that the Itsekiri were annexing their land in Gelegele, where the state government intends to build an Export Processing Zone.
Reacting through a statement by Chief Yahya Pessu, the Ojomo of Warri Kingdom and Chairman, Itsekiri community, the group, noted that the elders and leaders of Itsekiri community met to deliberate on the issue and found out that there was no iota of truth in the allegation.
“Itsekiri ethnic nationality is not laying claim to the ownership of Gelegele area as alleged by the protesters. As a people, we are peace loving, not territorially ambitious and believe absolutely in the rule of law.
“We maintain an enduring kindred relationship with the Benin people, with strong historical and cultural ties. We therefore, urged protesters to get their facts right and desist from acts that could jeopardise the excellent relationship between and the Benin people and the Itsekiri people in Edo state” it stated.