Published On: Tue, Feb 19th, 2013

Crisis Looms in Warri as Ijaw Group Vows to Resist Itsekiri Offensive

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Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikechukwu Aduba


By Joe Ogbodu, Warri
There is a new twist in the political imbalance crisis rocking Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State as a group, Egbemas for Positive Change has alleged a plot to frame up its members for illegal bunkering, militancy and other criminal acts.
The Ijaw pressure group has been agitating for equity, justice and fairness in the politics of the oil-rich council.
The group’s President, Prince Ebimene Fetimi on Sunday alleged that some persons have plotted to implicate members of his group in various crimes ostensibly to weaken it and cripple its agitation.
He, however, vowed that they would fight on despite the obvious attempt to by certain groups and individuals to blackmail and intimidate them.

He alleged that certain individuals and interest groups have resorted to name-calling and outright blackmail in their efforts to rubbish the noble effort of his group to ensure an end to decades of
marginalization of the Egbemas in the area.
Specifically, Fetimi claimed that some people of Itsekiri extraction in Warri North had been painting the members of Egbemas For Positive Change in bad light before unsuspecting members of the public and
especially the Joint Security Task Force (JTF) in the Niger-Delta.
The group, in the statement jointly signed by Messrs Shedrack Igina, Smart Yortor and Major Atigbi, the EPC Vice-President, Secretary and spokesman respectively, also alleged that the Itsekiri in Warri North
were “amassing arms” to attack the Ijaw, saying they were prepared for a total showdown with them if it became necessary.
The statement said, “The motive for these unwarranted acts of intimidation are clear; they want to unjustly hunt down our members and hopefully stifle our just struggle for equity in the conduct of
political affairs in Warri North Local Government Council”.
Fetimi recalled that since the publication in local and international media of the group’s open letter to Mr. President barely a week ago, members of his pressure group have been labeled by their adversaries
as ‘“ex-militants” and oil facilities vandals and thieves in an attempt to betray them to the JTF.
He challenges their accusers to address verifiable issues on ground instead of “this latest act of provocation and harassment” by whipping up of malicious sentiments and blackmail, saying there was no going back until justice was done in Warri North.
“The Egbemas for Positive Change published their position on the political affairs of as they play out in Warri North LGA in some national newspapers”, he said, stressing, “The Itsekiris have been marginalizing the Ijaws for decades; and, instead of addressing the issues raised in the open letter they are resorting to blackmail and name-calling to divert public attention.
Fetimi said his kinsmen only wanted to be carried along in the administration of Warri North, stressing that “Since the inception of the local government (Warri North), the Ijaw have not by any chance
occupied the chairmanship position or any other position, either by appointment or election. The same is also applicable to state appointments accruable to the Local Government Area.” Giving a graphic breakdown of political offices occupied by indigenes of the area in the last 22 years, the EFPC highlighted that over 30 posts, including council chairmen, lawmakers at the state and federal
levels, secretary to the councils and aides to the governors were all garnered by the Itsekiri.
He added that all 413 former staff of the council as well as 350 of 365 in recent times have all come from the Itsekiri ethnic stock, much to the anguish of their Ijaw kinsmen.
They accused Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of being anti-Ijaw, stressing that in spite of a recent avalanche of protests, he went ahead to appoint an Itsekiri indigene, Mr. David Edun, as the caretaker
chairman of the council.

Source: Compass

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