July 22, 2013

Warri North crisis: Displaced victims want Itsekiri state

By Emma Amaize, Emma Arubi & Godwin Oghre

SAPELE—Displaced Itsekiri natives in the recent attacks by the Egbema Radical Group, ERG, an Ijaw militia, which razed more than six Itsekiri communities in Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State,  have called for the creation of a separate state for the Itsekiri ethnic nationality.

Meanwhile, succour came the way of Itsekiri victims of the attack, yesterday, when the Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry, Elder Godsday Orubebe, donated relief materials worth millions of naira to the council boss, Mr. David Edun, in Koko, headquarters of the council.

Also, the Chairman of Itsekiri Youth Movement, IYM, Mr Newuwumi Omolubi, has called on the Federal Government to institute a panel of inquiry into the July 2 crisis that rocked Warri North.

Speaking through the Olara-Aja (community head), Jakpa Community, Pa Higson Oporokun,  the affected persons, under the aegis of Displaced Itsekiri People of Nigeria,  said “We call on the Federal and Delta State Governments to as a matter of urgency, create an independent state for the Itsekiri people of Nigeria.”

They noted that creating an Itsekiri state was the first step towards ending the killings of Itsekiri people by their Ijaw counterparts, adding that in the alternative, government should relocate them to a safe and militarily fortified area, where they would be free from assault and killing by their Ijaw militia in the state.

Meanwhile, Omolubi, told Vanguard in Sapele that  the panel should determine among other things, the immediate and remote causes of the unprovoked killing of Itsekiri citizens and how to stop similar crisis in future.

He said: “I think the way for government to get to the root of this matter is to set up a panel of inquiry to find out exactly what happened, why it happened,  who were responsible and bring them to book.

“I say this because what happened is not political as some people want others to believe, it is annihilation of Itsekiri people, it is a criminal act and the perpetrators must be brought to book. For now, they are walking freely and they must not be allowed to walk freely, they must be fished out, dead or alive, to face the music,” he said.

Items donated include tubers of yams, bags of beans, rice, garri, cartons of tomatoes, groundnut oil, mosquito nets, beverages, mattresses among others.

Making the presentation to the council boss on behalf of Elder Orubebe, Mrs. Oju Agata, expressed sadness over the attacks, saying that he was pained by the incident and prayed Almighty God to grant the families of those killed the fortitude to bear the loss.

Orubebe explained that the token was his ministry’s way to commiserating with the devastated communities and people, urging them to put the incident behind them.

Receiving the relief materials on behalf of the affected communities, Mr. David Edun, maintained that there was no crisis in the council, as what happened was a devilish attack and killings of innocent Itsekiri persons and burning of their villages by some Ijaw oil thieves masquerading as freedom fighters from Egbema communities.