By Davies Iheamnachor
A group, Niger Delta Scholars, NDS, has described as lawless, moves by Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, and the Olotgbosere of Warri, Chief Ayiri Emami, to stop the Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh from addressing himself as His Royal Majesty, Mobene II, the Amakosu of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri Kingdom.
Coordinator of the group and Pere Fungewei of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri Kingdom, Chief Monday Keme, in a statement, said the IloT recently called on the Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to intervene and correct an alleged attempt by Ogbe-Ijoh monarch to rob Warri Kingdom of its title.
NDS asserted that the original settlement that became known as Warri was an Ijaw fishing settlement called Ogbe-Ijoh, the nucleus of the present Warri and that available records confirm Ogbe-Ijoh ownership of Warri, which entitles the Amakosu to address himself as Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri Kingdom.
Recalling that the Olotgbesere, a top Itsekiri leader, Chief Emami also made a similar statement last year, the group said the 1977 Warri Traditional Council that had the Olu as chair with the Amakosu of Ogbe-Ijoh, Pere of Isaba, Pere of Gbaramatu and Pere of Egbema as members, had since abated.
It said four Ijaw monarchs kicked against Itsekiri chiefs attending meeting with traditional rulers and use of Itsekiri as official language and by June 1978. The defunct Bendel State government upheld their stand, leading to the end of Warri Traditional Council.
“Delta State government in her wisdom enacted the Delta State Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict Act in 1999, where traditional rulers were grouped into their respective local governments and in the three Warri Local Government councils.
“The Olu is recognised in Warri North, Warri South and Warri South-West; Amakosu of Ogbe-Ijoh is recognised in Warri South and Warri South-West; Agadagba of Egbema in Warri North, the Orousen of Okere Urhobo and that of Agbarha in Warri South Local Government.
“There is no truth in the claim that the Oluship is the only recognised traditional institution in Warri. The Chiefs Law of 1957, Western Regional Law, Cap 19 prescribed the Olu as authority for the Itsekiris, excluding the territories of Ogbe-Ijoh, Gbaramatu and Egbema.”