The Itsekiris are people that are known for peace and our monarchs over the years have been very generous to the Ijaws of Gbaramatu, Egbema and Ogbe Ijoh. We have chosen to reply only to the Ogbe Ijoh people on this occasion to correct the statement that they are indigenous people of Warri South and Warri South-West with both historical facts and legal references.
The Ijaw settlements at present-day Miller waterside, Dore Numa Market (now corrupted to Ogbe Ijoh Market) and the waterside of Main Market was 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 remain until today as they have continued to expand and name deserted Itsekiri communities with Ijaw names.
As regards the speech of the Olu and the popular voice note that is yet to be recognized. 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. For purpose of reference the following supreme court judgements are referred to:
1. In Suit W/116/56, Eyin Pessu, Akowe Apoh (Itsekiris) and the Olu of Warri versus Brigbo and others (Ijaws) where Justice Obaseki found in favour of the Itsekiris in the declaration of title over Aruteghan Creek together with all the surrounding lands.
2. Suit No.W/148/56 by Chief Isuokumo Oloiki and others (for themselves and on behalf of Ijaw settlers in Ogbe-ijoh in Warri Division) against Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees and others. Where Itsekiri had another victory over the Ogbe Ijoh people.
3. In Suit No. SC/450/65 the presiding Judge dismissed an appeal against the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees and Sir Lionel Brett the attorney general of the Federation and the Ijaws of Ogbe-ijoh were banned never to contest ownership of any land in Warri Division.
4. In 2013 Hon Justice Marshall Umukoro dismissed a joinder by the Ijaws of Ogbe-ijoh consigning 3.1 hectares of Okere (Itsekiri) lands in the Warri High Court and again banned the Ijaws of Ogbe-ijoh from contesting any lands in Warri federal constituency.
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.
Chairman Itsekiri Interest Group.
Secretary Itsekiri Interest Group.