By Jimitota Onoyume & Etop Ekanem
WARRI—Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, has enjoined security operatives to sustain peace in Ugborodo community, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, appealing that they should ensure that those behind the recent criminal activities in the area were brought to justice.
Meanwhile, deputy governor of the state, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, has denied involvement in the ongoing crisis in Ugborodo community, saying the insinuations are baseless and unfortunate, wondering if the peddlers intended their audience to believe the lies.
Otuaro also denied planning to install Benson Omadeli, the Olaja-Orori of Ugborodo as King of Ugborodo Kingdom.
ILoT, in a statement yesterday by Chief Edward Ekpoko, Chairman of the body and Sir Amorighoye Mene, Secretary, lauded Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the state and security agencies for the timely restoration of peace in the community.
“We wish to thank Governor Okowa for his efforts at restoring normalcy in Ugborodo community.
“The governor’s swift response to our appeal for intervention didn’t allow the lawlessness in Ugborodo to fester for too long.
“We also thank the joint Army, Navy and Police team that was deployed to the community for their show of professionalism in handling the crisis.
“We call on the government and security agencies to ensure permanent peace in the community while those behind the criminal activities should be brought to justice,” it said.
Meanwhile, Otuaro said: “I am an Ijaw man from Gbaramatu Kingdom and have no hand in the Ugborodo communal crisis. The people of Gbaramatu Kingdom see the Itsekiri people of Ugborodo as immediate neighbours and brothers and have lived with them in peace for a long time.
“History bears testimony that as a person, I championed peace between the Ijaw and the entire Itsekiri nation, which includes Ugborodo, during the inter-ethnic Warri crisis that eventually brought peace since 2004.”
“Since assumption of office as deputy governor, I have continued to traverse riverside Ijaw and Itsekiri communities in search of peace in promotion of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s SMART Agenda to attract government attention and investors to the areas, which need peace for rapid development.
“The unfortunate internal crisis in Ugborodo is known to predate the incumbent Okowa’s administration in which I am the deputy governor. It is, therefore, patently unfair for anybody to create mischief holding Otuaro out as being behind the Ugborodo internal crisis.”
On the purported moves to install Benson Omadeli, the Olaja-Orori of Ugborodo as “King of Ugborodo Kingdom, he said: Those familiar with the method for recognising another King from a Kingdom know that there are procedures to be religiously followed and these involve several stakeholders. For the avoidance of doubt, there are no moves overtly or covertly supported by Otuaro to make anybody “King of Ugborodo Kingdom.
“While the general public is hereby informed to disregard the allegations, I wish to appeal on behalf of the state government to all communities in the state to pursue peace and good neighbourliness for development.”