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Published On: Mon, Jul 8th, 2013

Uduaghan Promises to Curtail Warri Crisis, as Obielum, Ogbudugbudu Condemn Killings

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State (left) and H.R.M. Atuwatse II, The Olu of Warr (right) in Ode Istsekiri near Warri brain storming on how to resolve the Warri crisis

JULY 8TH (URHOBOTODAY) -Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, said, yesterday, that the state government was ensuring that the latest crisis in Warri North Local Government Area of the state did not degenerate into an ethnic war between Itsekiris and Ijaws.
Meanwhile, Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chieftain and governorship hopeful, Chief Godswill Obielum and Ogbudugbudu National Council in Egbema clan of Warri North, have condemned the killing of innocent persons and destruction of property in the crisis.
It will be recalled that the Egbema Radical Group, ERG, an Ijaw militia, last Tuesday, launched attacks on their Itsekiri neighbours, killing no fewer than 12 persons, including a couple and their child, and razed about three communities. They alleged that the Itsekiris were marginalising Ijaws in Warri North, as they claim that the Ijaw people have not produced the chairman of the council since it was created.
Meantime, ERG has called on the Delta State Government to implement the Warri Peace Agreement to provide a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Warrri North.
On checking the crisis, Governor Uduaghan, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, said: “I was one of those who managed the Itsekiri/Ijaw crisis in the past and I know what the war between the two ethnic nationalities was like. It is not what well-meaning people in the area want to relive, and so, as a government, we are being diplomatic to separate agitation from criminality.
Management of the crisis
“We have been managing it since it started, last Tuesday. I am being briefed by people on ground and top officials of security agencies in the state. We have also met several times to appraise the situation and take measures to handle same. The measures we put in place are working; we are not sleeping over the development. Security agents are on the trail of those who resorted to criminality in the area. If you watch, calm has returned after we banned the use of certain calibre of speedboats for transportation in the creek, the Joint Task Force is in the creek to arrest the situation.
“We are behind the scene to ensure that there is ceasefire by those making trouble and if they refuse, we will use security agents to overcome them. And now that there is ceasefire, government will send people to the affected communities to ascertain the damage and also distribute relief materials.”
The governor who said he would be meeting with stakeholders from the two sides, during the week, to examine the cause of disagreement and proffer solution, however, warned leaders from the areas to be cautious of their statements, “as provocative and inciting statements are not solution to the problem.”
Spokesperson of ERG, Mr. Ami Dada, confirmed to Vanguard that the group ordered a ceasefire to enable government and other leaders, who had intervened in the matter to address the issues. He said the group resorted to violence because the marginalisation had been on for about 21 years without government addressing it.
Meanwhile, Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain and governorship hopeful, Chief Godswill Obielum, has condemned the killing of innocent persons and destruction of property in Warri North Local Government Area of the state. He called on the Ijaws and Itsekiris of the area to shun acts that would truncate the peace and security agenda of the state government.
Obielum said in a statement: “I appeal to our Ijaw and Itsekiri brothers and sisters in Warri North to give peace a chance and desist from anything that will turn the hand of clock and erode the gains of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s peace, security and developmental agenda under the three point’s agenda of the state government. I, therefore, enjoin our Ijaw and Itsekiri brothers to close ranks and maintain the peace to avoid unnecessary loss of lives and property. I condemn in the strictest term, the dastardly killing of innocent persons and destruction of property Warri North.
“While commending the state governor for the proactive step he had taken so far to avert crises, I call on security operatives in the state to redouble their efforts in maintaining the hard earned peace. My prayers and that of my family are with those who lost their beloved ones and property in the unfortunate incident.”
Ogbudugbudu council condemns attacks
Similarly, the Ogbudugbudu National Council in Egbema clan of Warri North also condemned the attack on Itsekiri villages. The council, in a statement by its Chairman, Ambassador Meshack Ubabiri; General Secretary, Mr. Morris Anuwo, and others, noted that such attacks on innocent citizens of the Itsekiri villages in the Warri North Local was not acceptable.
Thanking the Federal Government for its quick intervention by deploying and stationing security personnel in the troubled areas of Ogbeinbiri, Idebagbene, Adagbarasa, Gbokoda, Obaghoro, Opuama Zion, Ogbudugbudu and Ogheye communities, the council requested that similar protection should also extended to the Ijaws as this was not the current reality on ground.
The council said: “The Itsekiris are our immediate neighbours in Benin River. We have lived together peacefully as brothers and sisters from time immemorial, and hardly would one see an Itsekiri without an Ijaw blood, and vice versa. Therefore, we sternly believe that an injury done to an Itsekiri person is an injury done to an Ijaw man.
“We, therefore, call for a stop to the mayhem against the Itsekiri communities, and indeed any other community in Warri North. We do believe that violence is not the solution to the problem of political marginalisation against the Ijaws in Warri North.”
Meanwhile, Egbema Radical Group, ERG, has called on the Delta State Government to implement the Warri Peace Agreement to provide a lasting solution to the recurring crisis in Warrri North Local Government Area. A statement by its President, Mr. Ami Dada lamented that Egbema Ijaws had been marginalised and oppressed by their Itsekiri neighbours in the last 21 years.
The statement said: “while the entire clan of Egbema Ijaws are fighting for their equal representation in every sector in the state and local government, instead of addressing the political injustice, the state government is blackmailing us with false allegations and also giving misleading information to JTF in Koko, headquarters of Warri North council to carry out illegal arrests to stop our genuine struggle against political injustice.
“We the Egbema Radical Group are categorically making our intention known to the general public that this tactic of arresting our people innocently will not stop our struggle against political injustice. It will not bring peace to Warri North except the state government do a re-think and implement the peace agreements they applied in Warri South and Warri South West. Egbema Radical Group is, therefore, advising the military operatives in Koko, Nigeria Police Force, and DSS to please stay away from this issue, because this is purely political.”
Source: Vanguard

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