A group, Itsekiri Interest Group, has said that the Olu of Warri, as the spiritual head of the Itsekiri nation, is empowered to speak for his people on matters related to their prosperity and governance.
The group said that royal fathers as custodian of tradition and history have always been maintaining peace between inhabitants of Itsekiri and Ijaw communities.
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The group claimed that the Itsekiris are people that are known for peace “and their monarchs over the years have been very generous” to the Ijaws of Gbaramatu, Egbema and Ogbe Ijoh.
A statement signed by Gbubemi Awala and Weyinmi Yalaju Chairman and Secretary of Itsekiri Interest Group respectively said they chose to correct the statement that the people of Ogbe Ijor are indigenous people of Warri South and Warri South-West with both historical facts and legal references.
Putting records straight, the group said; “the Ijaw settlements at present-day Miller water side, Dore Numa Market (now corrupted to Ogbe Ijoh Market) and the water side of Main Market were formerly owned by Itsekiris of Ugbori, Pessu and Kpisan communities respectively.
“These houses were abandoned during the peak of the Warri crisis and these abandoned buildings were taken over by Ijaw migrants from Bayelsa, Rivers and Ijaw areas of Delta State.
“The conflict resolution panel that was set up by Chief James Ibori, the then Governor of Delta State, paid compensation to illegal occupants of abandoned buildings in these areas to encourage the original owners to return and to mobilize the illegal occupants to evict the properties.
“These monies were paid but the occupants still remain until today as they have continued to expand and name deserted Itsekiri communities with Ijaw names”.
Making reference to a statement by the Olu of Warri regarded as the popular voice, the Itsekiri Interest Group said; “the Olu is the ultimate authority of the Itsekiri nation and he owes no group any apology as it regards to how he feels our political seat within Itsekiri strongholds which is Warri Federal Constituency should be occupied.
“On the 21st of August 2021, Ogiame Atuwase III in his remarkable speed declared himself as not just the spiritual and economic leader of the Itsekiri nation but also as the political leader”.
The group made references to some supreme court judgements.
“The Itsekiris have been silent because we want peace to reign, the Olu hasn’t stopped his Ijaw tenants from contesting in 2023 but only the Olu is qualified to negotiate the collective interest of Itsekiris not any politician”, the group said.