The Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, HRM Obi Ifechukwude Aninshi Okonjo II, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, has appealed to his neighbouring communities to eschew provocative utterances and misrepresentation of facts over which kingdom Otulu community belongs.
The monarch is the brother of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTC), Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who narrowly escaped attacks by suspected cultists during a visit to Otulu community for prayers last week.
In a statement signed and made available to journalists on Friday by his media aide, Greg Okwumbu, the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku said his kingdom accords respect and desired to cohabit in peace with his neighbouring communities.
Obviously reacting to a publication where the monarch of Issele-Azagba HRM Agbogidi, Obi Francis Jideuwa, on Thursday, who, while granting a press briefing, claimed Otulu community is not part of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom but his, HRM Okonjo II, urged neighbouring communities to respect historical, political and geographical facts on boundaries.
“We are a very respectful community and we desire to live in peace. We do not want any unnecessary provocation from our neighbours.
“We wish to request that our neighbouring communities, who we have tried to live in peace with for decades, respect our boundaries,” he admonished.
The Ogwashi-Uku monarch disclosed that from time immemorial, Otulu community, nay Issele-Azagba land, were part of his kingdom and as a fact, lent our lands to Issele-Azagba to farm at inception.
Okonjo II, who cited gazetted references including court judgements to back his ownership claim, said “Otulu Ogwashi-Uku historically is a farming settlement under our Agidiasei Quarters.
“Otulu Ogwashi-Uku was separated from its sister community Edo Ogwashi-Uku when the current Lagos-Benin Expressway was built, effectively putting both communities on either side of the expressway.
“Otulu has always been part of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom and has always been managed by an Okwabani appointed by the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku.”
According to him, “Otulu Ogwashi-Uku, politically, is Ward 1 in Aniocha South Local Government. A review of the geographical map of Delta State, drawn up by the Delta State Government, shows and establishes the local government boundaries which clearly puts Otulu Ogwashi-Uku inside Aniocha South Local Government.
“So, from a historical, geographic and political point of view, Otulu Ogwashi-Uku is and will remain part of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom.
“We are aware that some communities are rushing to make claims about Otulu Ogwashi-Uku in light of the unfortunate incident which happened last week.
“We are very prepared to defend our communal land to ensure that no outside community interferes with the land handed to us by our ancestors.
“We will not permit any distortion of the facts or the truth…we have relevant legal documents to back up our claims.
“Let us end by responding to a story we heard from HRM Agbogidi Obi Francis Jideuwa, the Obi of Issele-Azagba claiming ownership of Otulu.
“We have a great deal of respect for His Majesty and we are sure he is misquoted and the stories supposedly from him about Otulu Ogwashi-Uku are false.
“We know the history and relationship between our Azagba Ogwashi-Uku Community and Issele Azagba. We provided farmlands to them which metamorphosed to the present Issele Azagba community,” he claimed.