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Published On: Tue, Nov 3rd, 2015

DESOPADEC: Delta Police Arrest 11 Itsekiri’s Protesters, Coffin in Warri

LAGOS NOVEMBER 3RD (URHOBOTODAY)-No fewer than eleven protesters of Itsekiris indigenes were reported to have been arrested by the Delta police for protesting and disrupting activities at the premises of Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC). The police also recovered a coffin from the protesters.
The protest and arrest took place yesterday when a group under the aegis of Itsekiri Joint Action Group, IJAG, a coalition of organizations of Itsekiri ethnic nationality in Warri, Delta State, laid siege to the office of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, shutting down its activities.
The group, which alleged marginalization of the ethnic group by the commission, stormed its office yesterday following the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum it issued the commission on October 25.
DESOPADEC workers scampered from their offices for safety when the protesters invaded the commission.
Reacting to the development, Special Assistant, SA, on Media to the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Dr Prince Orhomonokpaye, condemned the action of the protesters and said the current board was just two months old in office and required time to settle down and address issues to ensure that all oil-producing communities benefit positively from the commission.
While urging the group to sheathe its swords and embrace peace, which he said was the only way to even development, the SA appealed to the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILOT, to call the protesting group to order, noting, “It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war as united Deltans.”
IJAG comprises the National Association of Itsekiri Graduates, NAIG; National Association, Warri Social Development Associations, WSDA; Iwere Development Association, IDA; Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (Itsekiri chapter) and other stakeholders.
The group, led Prince O. U. Tuoyo, had accused the Urhobo ethnic nationality of lording it over other ethnic groups at the commission, claiming only the Urhobo had 1,345 staff, about 45.47 per cent of DESOPADEC’s workforce, while Itsekiri nation had 655, leaving Ijaw, Ndokwa, Isoko and others with the remaining percentage.
The crisis came to a head when the Managing Director of the commission reently redeployed an Itsekiri man, who was the Head of Security of the commission and replaced him with somebody from another ethnic group.

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