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Clash at Itsekiri confab as Rita Lori escapes death

CHIEF Rita Lori-Ogbebor yesterday at the palace of the Olu of Warri narrowly escaped death at the ongoing Itsekiri National Conference organized by HRM Ogiame Atuwatse 11 to chart a new path for the Itsekiri land when some politicians invaded venue of the conference and wreaked havoc on participants, communication gadgets and other equipment put in place for the August event.

The week-long event, which kicked off last Sunday with a Church Service, was scheduled to be attended by only Itsekiri professionals and intellectuals, as all other groups have had their turns.

Trouble started when at the opening of the days’ event Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor asked one of Delta State governor’s security aides (names withheld) to exercise patient and allow the professionals to finish their contributions to the debate on how to move the Itsekiri nation forward before entertaining questions and comments.

However, the special assistant, accompanied by other Delta State government officials who drove to the palace with Delta State government vehicles insisted on addressing the crowd and with, perhaps a predetermined mind set, went wild destroying everything ranging from canopy to microphone and beating up people.

Not done with this initial disruption, the security aide and his team went to mobilize more troops who came to ensure that the conference was thwarted.

But unfortunately for them, men of the Nigerian Army got there before them and in the fracas that ensued, the soldiers had no choice but to shoot sporadically into the air to disperse the trouble makers.

A visibly shaken Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor surrounded by Chief Sunny Irone and other prominent Itsekiri sons and daughters presiding over the conference, got more than they bargained for when the run-away thugs re-mobilized and moved towards the palace venue again.

This forced the now angry soldiers to forcefully chased them away before the meeting was re-convened and adjourned for Saturday.

Speaking to Saturday Vanguard on the issue, Itsekiri activist and youth leader, David Iwere, condemned the action of the politicians, even as Mr. Alex Eyengho said the action of the boys was a betrayal of the Governor Uduaghan’s indiscretion in appointing them to high position above their mental capacity.

Loyalists to the conference and most Itsekiri youths then stormed different parts of the oil city venting their anger on property suspected to have any dealings with all those that disrupted the conference, including government buses.

In the ensuing melee, one of the wives of the mastermind of the fracas narrowly escaped death by the whiskers through the sheer grace of mobile policemen that ensured her safe passage from the palace.

Vanguard authoritatively gathered that the mayhem caused by the group was well planned to disorganize the conference.

Chief Rita Lori_Ogbebor allegedly called one of the trouble makers to ascertain the truth of their plan, but the youth leader told her he was not part of the game, saying he was out of town.

As at the time of this report, supporters of the dissident group that disrupted the all important Itsekiri conference were still going about harassing innocent Itsekiris in all parts of Warri because the soldiers have vacated the scene.

Making her final address to the poeple, Chief Rita Lori_Ogbebor told the crowd that a revolution has started in Itsekirland that would sweep the nation clean ones and for good, assuring that the incident only serve to further inspire her to do more for her people and advised them to turn out enmasse for tomorrow’s event without fear of intimidation from any quarters.


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