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Benin Group rebuff Ijaw claim on Gelegele

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By Emmanuel Aziken

The Asinmwin-Evbuomwan, a group of Benin indigenes in the Diaspora has flayed the claim on Bini land by the Ijaw living in Gelegele area of Edo State saying that the claim could not be backed by historical records.

The group in a statement made available to Saturday Vanguard it found particularly objectionable, a video put in YouTube in which some Ijaw made claims and seemingly provocative ultimatums on their demand.

Gelegele port

Affirming that the land had been declared to be Benin land by court judgments dating back to the seventies, the group said: “In recognition of these court judgments, we hold ourselves to verifiable truths with well documented historical evidence in this matter. In support of our stand, we have proffered court rulings as evidence that the ownership of Gelegele community and the adjoining areas have already been decided in the Nigerian courts in favor of the Benin people.

“While Edo State Government has taken a step to ensure peace and tranquility, the Ijaw people in the area, tenants as they really are in Benin land, are yet to renounce their incursive claim to the ownership of Gelegele and the adjoining areas or withdraw their lame ultimatum.

“The Benin Palace has made it crystal clear, through the Benin Traditional Council (BTC), that the Ijaw communities are tenants in Benin land. The area in question has been the land and territory which belong to the Benin people as far as dated history indicates. There is only one monarch and ruler in Benin Kingdom, and His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, is the paramount ruler of the land. As a result, the Ijaws in Edo State have no right to and cannot install a “Pere of Olodiama Kingdom” in the area. Within this context therefore, we join the Benin Traditional Council and all peace-loving people to condemn the despicable claims and act of the Ijaw communities in Edo State.

“The Ijaws in Benin land have the choice of a peaceful co-existence with their Benin people. However, if they choose a dangerous inroad and disturb the peace in the area as they have threatened to do, we will certainly return fire with fire and fight with our might and main. In doing so, we will be swift and will not vacillate in our choice of the necessary and commensurate actions to repel and quell their aggression in our resolute effort to defend and protect the Benin people, their land and their properties.

“We demand from this group of Ijaw people to renounce their condemnable averments and claims, withdraw their reprehensible ultimatum, and make a pledge of allegiance and unmitigated display of loyalty and reverence to the Oba of Benin.”


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