By Paulm Olayemi
The Obitugbo Community Management Commitee in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State has called on the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to ignore the recent protest by the people of Oghara over an allegation that a vast expanse of their land was handed over to the Nigerian Army by His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse lll, the Olu of Warri Kingdom.
The community in a communique titled: Re; illegal and unlawful hand over of vast expanse of land belonging to Oghara and located at Otegbo (which the Itsekiri call Obitugbo) village to the Nigerian Army by his Royal Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri kingdom’ signed by Chairman of the community, Mr Justice Akuyoma, the Secretary, Esaye Luke Ariyoh, and the Alare-Aja of the community, Pa Isaac Jemide also advised the Oghara people to pursue their case with legal option rather than using intimidation and threat of war.
It will be recalled that the Oghara Traditional Council led by King Noble Eshemitan, Uku Ogharaname, on April 5th, 2022, had called on the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to intervene in the ownership of lands located at Ajagbodudu and Otegbo (which the Itsekiri call Obitugbo) villages between the Urhobos of Oghara kingdom in Ethiope West LGA and the Itsekiris in Warri North LGA, both of Delta State, accusing the Itsekiris of Warri North Local Government Area of planning to establish a private university in the Oghara territory of Otegbo.
However, in a rejoinder by the Obitugbo Community last Thursday, they claimed that the site for the proposed University of Warri, as well as other institutions are on lands owned by the Obitugbo community
They also cited that Obitugbo is an Itsekiri community founded by Iyatsere Egharegbemi who lived there with his wives , children and domestics, that his descendants exercised many acts of possession and ownership over Obite-Ugbo and it’s still inhabited to this day by his descendants.
The press release stated that the issue of ownership of land can only be determined by a competent law court and added that the Oghara people have been to court with the Delta State Government and the Obitugbo people and had their cases struck out.