By Emma Amaize

WARRI—THE Warri Ijaw Peace Monitoring Group, WIPMG, Warri, Delta State, yesterday, said that crisis was looming in Warri and environs in the state, following alleged threat on the Ijaw and International Oil Companies, IOCs, by the Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC.

In a statement by its chairman, Chief Patrick Bigha, the group said: “It has come to our notice that trouble is brewing in Warri and environs as a result of a declaration of war on the Ijaw and IOCs  by Itsekiri National Youth Council.

“We wish to let the Itsekiri know that the era of violent agitation is over. They should follow the steps of the Ijaw, who have been advocating development of the Niger Delta region peacefully.

“The Ijaw have attracted projects meant to open up the region in recent time. They do not have cause to worry as the Ijaw will continue to be magnanimous and liberal to them as in the past.

“Even when Ijaw lands were given to them by the colonial masters when they migrated from Ode in present day Ogun State and Benin in Edo State to Warri and its environs, as attested to by their son and leader, Chief Dore Numa in 1923 and contained in the Warri Intelligence Report, the Ijaw did not make trouble with them. Maybe it is because of the peaceful disposition of the Ijaw that had led to the continuous land grabbing attitude of the Itsekiris.”

On the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the Ijaw group  stated: “It was an Itsekiri son, the then governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, that revoked and published the revocation notice in a national daily (Vanguard newspapers) and the Delta State-owned newspaper, The Pointer, in September 25, 2013, for the information of the general public that whoever has a claim to make should do so within six working weeks.

“The name used was Okerenkoko. It was only the Okerenkoko people, the rightful owners of the said land, that made claims and they were paid for economic trees and fish ponds destroyed in the process of acquisition.

“Let the Itsekiri drop this attitude of working against development in our region. It is a known truth in Delta State that the Itsekiri have not supported anything good coming to the area as it has been their attitude to oppose good things that come to the area.

“The same way they opposed the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, is the same way they opposed the location of the capital of Delta State in Warri, and it was cited at far away Asaba to the detriment of the core Delta people. Now, it takes three to four hours to travel to our state capital.”

“The Ijaws have always initiated peaceful means to resolve issues with the Itsekiris over the years. We have even entered a consent judgment of 1983 with them (Itsekiri) for peace to reign where we have both enjoyed patronage from International Oil Companies as they pay royalties to the Ijaws too.”

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