Tension in Delta: Ijaws build on razed Itsekiri villages

Emma Arubi
WARRI-TENSION now pervades the whole of Ugborodo Itsekiri community and its neighbouring Ijaw communities in Warri South –West council area of Delta State following recent moves by some Ijaws who have erected staff quarters in the crisis sacked Kpokpo family quarter on Ugborodo land.

The land inhabited by the Kolo family of Ugborodo was sacked by the Ijaws during the Ijaw/Itsekiri 1997-2003 war popularly known as the Warri crisis.

Similarly, another crisis is looming between some Ijaws of Gbaramatu kingdom and the Itsekiris of Kantu community sacked by the Ijaws also during the same period.

Though the military authorities have waded into the festering crisis in Escravos by stopping further development on the land by the Ijaws, it was gathered that the Itsekiri owners were told by their Ijaw neighbours that Kpokpo is a now conquered territory.

Assistant Public Relation Officer, PRO of Ugborodo community, Mr. Perry Okoturoh told Vanguard newspapers that “it is unheard of to say that anybody conquered somebody else’s land in the twenty-first century and takes an evil step to commence building on the said community land with impunity”.

According to Okoturoh, the Ijaws razed Kpokpo settlement in Warri Kingdom down during the seven years genocide against the Itsekiri nation and razed many more Itsekiri villages including Kantu in Gbaramatu Kingdom where they both share the same ancestry through age-long marital relationship, saying that “the Ugborodo community has not abandoned Kpokpo land to any other person, family or ethnic nationalities. It remains the Kolo family quarters and therefore the land remains Ugborodo property”.

He expressed regret that the Ijaws commenced building on the said land about two months ago perhaps to provoke another round of Ijaw/Itsekiri war. ‘We wonder how they can claim to be building a staff quarter in another mans’ land, in an area that has no school in the first place.

However, some Gbaramatu Ijaws who spoke to newsmen yesterday at a press briefing maintained that the land now belongs to them, insisting that some Itsekiri boys came to pull down the staff quarters they were erecting on Kpokpo land.

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