Some members of Ijaw community in Gelegele, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo state have declared dispute with the state government.
They have disowned the purported Ijaw leaders that met with Governor Godwin Obaseki over the crisis between Ijaw in Edo and Benin people.
The spokesman of the community, Chief Macaulay Ayiwe, said in a statement that the elders’ meeting with the governor was on their individual capacity and not on behalf of the entire Ijaw community.
While noting that they remain committed to the peaceful co-existence with the government and people of the state, they stressed that they were not averse to peaceful resolution of the problem at hand.
According to the statement, the government should take steps to resolve the fundamental issues that have lingered for some time regarding the Benin traditional council, office of the governor and the Ijaw in Edo.
The issue, he said, should be treated with caution based on the sensitivity of the matter on ground.
“The Government in its bid to heal the already created wounds in the heart of the Ijaw people who supported his election, is fully aware of channels of conflict resolution through constituted bodies and individuals.”
The statement listed such bodies and persons to include, traditional Council, Ijaw National Congress (INC), Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), and elders and community leaders, whom were all absent at the purported meeting with the governor.
He advised that the position of the ijaw regarding the issues on ground should not be in any way undermined.
“We as Ijaw people in Edo, are in dire need of peace which we believe will help to foster economic growth and development in our long neglected oil rich region and the entire state.
“We never intend to hamper or defer the laudable works of Edo state governor, but to consolidate on the good plans promised us during his electioneering campaigns.
“We look forward to the meeting between government and elders and leaders of Ijaws communities in Edo as promised by the governor,” the statement said.
It would be recalled that Ijaw elders had on Wednesday met with Obaseki, where they blamed ‘outsiders’ for agitations to cause disturbance in Edo.
They also made commitment to peaceful coexistence and agreed to work together for the economic development of the state.
The Ijaws and Benin traditional council have been on war path over ownership of land and that the Ijaw kingdom is not under the Benin traditional council under leadership of the oba.