27 November 2014, Warri – The preliminary talks between the Itsekiri and Ijaw in Warri, Delta State, on the controversy surrounding the naming of $16 billion Export Processing Zone, EPZ project, Ogidigben, Warri South-West Local Government Area, has ended in a stalemate.
Following the deadlock, the meeting scheduled for yesterday in Abuja between the two ethnic groups and authorities of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had been canceled.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had given the two ethnic groups a one week ultimatum, which expired yesterday, to reach a compromise on their differences.
Vanguard gathered that the meeting was attended by the chairman of Ogidigben EPZ Interface Committee, Mr. Austin Oborogbeyi, who led the Itsekiri delegation. Others were the Ajuwaoyiboyami of Warri Kingdom, Chief Ayiri Emami, former chairman of Warri South-West, Mr. David Tonwe and Mr. Thomas Ereyitomi.
In the Ijaw team were Chief Godspower Gbenekama, Mr. Daniel Ekpebide, Mr. Williams Totor, Chief Fatchie Etoromomi and Mr. Paul Bebenimibo.
Meanwhile, a member of the Ogidigben Export Processing Zone, EPZ, Interface Committee, in Delta State, Mr. Alex Eyengho, has said that Alison-Madueke, did not issue an ultimatum to the Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic groups to resolve their differences over the project, but only appealed to them to let peace reign.
Eyengho, who spoke to Vanguard, yesterday, said: “It was the Ijaw delegation that appealed to the minister to give the two ethnic groups one week to settle their disagreement and report back and not as if the minister spoke like a dictator.
“It will not be fair to my conscience if I do not make this clarification because I was at the meeting. What I can say is that she expressed her anger with the publication of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought and appealed to the Ijaw and Itsekiri people to resolve their disagreement.”