…they are faceless – Community secretary
By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
There is brewing tension between Itsekiris, other tribes and Benins residents in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha local government area of Edo state over an allegation by the communities that the Benins in the area were foisting an alien kind of administration on them when they claimed they have been independent dwellers in Ologbo for over 400 years.
Addressing a press conference on the situation, spokesperson of the group Comrade Gregg Temisan Luma who spoke on behalf of the people he said are based in Ologbo, Ikara, Kolokolo, Ajoki, Ajatiton, Ajamogha, Abiala 1 and Abiala 2 said what was happening in the area was capable of sparking a community war even as he accused the Enogie of Ologbo, Prince Owen Akenzua of claiming to be their head when he said the Itsekiris and the Ijaws have their independent heads.
He said the boundary adjustment made when Edo and Delta state was created using Ologbo River as a natural boundary was a mistake which he said was responsible for the Enogie now claiming ownership Ologbo and other riverine communities in the area.
He said: “The Itsekiris and Ijaws as a people have their own unique identity and will not be subsumed into another tribe in this modern-day Nigeria.
“Therefore, we don’t recognise any dukedom put in place by the Benins to tactically obliterate the identity of the Itsekiris and Ijaws from Edo state and their right of self-determination in Nigeria.
“These communities have their native laws, customs and local administrative system before the advent of British colonial rule in the areas they are today.
“We have never been an appendage of the Benin Kingdom at any given time in history and will not accept that aberration of a dukedom to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
But reacting to the development, the secretary, the General Secretary of Ologbo dukedom, Deacon Friday Osazuwa in the company of elders of the community said the protesters were faceless.
He said “The people that protested are faceless people, we don’t know them. The real Itsekiri people in Ologbo, the Ologbo people know who owns the land.
“Ologbo River is the natural boundary between Edo and Delta State. All areas in the Ikpoba-Okha local government area falls within the area under the Oba of Benin who owns the land and if Oba of Benin owns the land and in Benin custom and tradition, the enogie represents the Oba, then what are they saying?
“So whoever is disputing that he should go to the palace of the Oba of Benin.”