Esezobor Ohimai, Warri
WARRI- There has been palpable tension in Warri and its environs as Ijaws of Ogbe-Ijoh extraction staged an heavy protest over what it described as arbitrary exclusion of Ijaws in Warri in the new ward creation in Delta State.
The aggrieved Ijaw youths accused His Excellency senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for conniving with the Itsekiri to be oppressing the Ijaws in Warri.
The protesting Ijaw youths vowed to go into another ethnic war with their Itsekiri neighbours for manipulating against them if Okowa refused to relocate the newly created ward to them.
It would be recalled that in 1997 similar situation played out, when Ijaw protested over the relocation of Warri South West Local government headquarters from Ogbe-Ijoh to Ogidigben, an Itsekiris community.
The protest led to heavy ethnic crisis, leading to burning and killing in Warri and later escalated to Riverine communities of both tribes. The war lasted till the Local government headquarter was relocated to Ogbe-Ijoh community.
Comrade Smart Okosou, chairman Ogbe-Ijoh kingdom IYC revealed that successful governments in the state had not been fair to the Ijaws in Warri who were alleged to be first settlers in Warri.
Our investigation showed that the Ijaws in Warri doesn’t had any indigenous political ward in Warri South Local government area and that made them to appealed with Okowa to considered them for the new ward creation in the state but unfortunately their plea was bluntly ignored.
The protesters blocked Warri South Local government council today December 3, 2020 but later left the premises with the Swift intervention of Ijaw Leaders.
They however, called on His Excellency senator Ifeanyi Okowa to relocate the newly created ward in Warri to the Ijaws to avoid another ethnic crisis in Warri.