Hundreds of Itsekiri on Friday stormed the Zone 5 Police command in Benin to protest continued police involvement in the crisis rocking the Olu of Warri stool.
The protesters said the continued insistence that police should resolve the issue was a let-down on the custom and tradition of Itsekiri.
Protesters with placards with various inscriptions such as “Peace must reign in Warri Kingdom, “We say no to destruction of our heritage”, Itsekiri Please remove our traditional matter from police station. Peace!!!” and Warri kingdom is one united and peaceful kingdom”.
“The Itsekiri communities’ leaders, told the Police that they are among the broad spectrum of Itsekiris that strongly backed the emergence of Prince Tsola Emiko as the Omoba (Olu designate of Warri Kingdom) stated: “We are not here to shortchange any Chief or destroy the Itsekiri culture and tradition. We have met with the Regent, the Iyatsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe, Chief Koffi Kartey, Chief Francis Omatseye and Prince Yemi Emiko, on the need for Itsekiris to come together as one, going forward.
A leader in the group, who gave his name as David Iwere, said, “We are here as Itsekiri, we are tired of our matter being in the pages of newspapers and various social media all the time.
“What is happening in Itsekiri has never happened before, we are here to appeal to the AIG to send all the chiefs home and give them a time to come back and report the settlement they have made.”
“We are here as a group, we want peace; we are tired of crisis we have come to appeal that they should take the matter back home and we can settle ourselves.
“Itsekiri issue is not for the police, we are a people with culture and tradition, we need to go and resolve our issues at home. We need peace in Itsekiri,” she said.
Maintaining the same position, Scott Anwani, an Itsekiri indigene said: “We have gone round to most of the chiefs in Warri kingdom and other stakeholders who are involved in all these issues.
“We have met one on one letting them know why we must ensure that there is peace in Itsekiri nation.
“They are our leaders, we are not supposed to be divided; the Ologbotshere, the Iyatsere, the Uji, Uwangue, the ruling house, the chiefs, they should all come to a round table and resolve this matter and make peace so that we can be happy,’’ he said.
In his response, the Zone 5 Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Tijani Momoh, said the request of the demonstrators would be conveyed to the AIG and whatever directive he gave would be communicated to them.
Recall that Itsekiri land has been embroiled in crisis following the announcement of the demise of the Olu of Warri and the disappearance of the 400 years old crown of the Olu.