By Emma Amaize
WARRI—THE Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, a rights group in Warri, Delta State, yesterday, described as offensive the recent call by some Benin leaders in Edo State for the arrest and prosecution of Ijaw monarchs, especially the most revered paramount ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the enviable Olodiama king, the Agadagba, Alagbabunafa lll, over the coronation of the latter.
IPDI, in a statement by its national president, Austin Ozobo, warned: “No such threat of arrest will deter the Ijaw of Edo State from exercising their rights of ownership of such lands bequeathed to them by their ancestors.
“No Ijaw kingdom will fold its arms over any attempt to arrest their monarch. Such call is a threat to the existing peace in the Niger Delta region.
“The coronation of Olodiama monarch was not botched as claimed by people in Benin. We wish to state unequivocally that the coronation of the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom was done successfully.
“It is provocative for Benin people to call for the arrest of Ijaw monarchs. Such calls are capable of fanning ethnic war between the Ijaw and Benin. There is no record showing that Olodiama is under Benin Kingdom.
“It may interest you to know that no Ijaw community in Edo State is listed among various communities that make up Benin Kingdom. If there is any, I urge the Benin to publish such gazette comprising such villages.
“Therefore, the coronation of the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom did not breach any existing law of Edo State since the area is not covered by Benin traditional gazette.
“In Edo State, every tribe has its own monarch, why is the Ijaw case different? We are being intimidated and marginalized,” IPDI asserted.