Published On: Sun, Apr 2nd, 2017

EDO IJAWS: Our Position ‎On the Bini Youths Protest; -Comrade Samson Uroupa

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We have received with utter dismay and disgust, the level of immaturity and crash ignorance displayed by some Bini youths and mischief makers protesting against the ownership of Gelegele community by the Ijaws.
It is regrettable that these misinformed youths who don’t even know where Gele-Gele community is located have decided to toe the line of war to the irritation of every right thinking person in contemporary world where everyone should be concerned with co-existence, peace and the development of communities at various levels.
Very unfortunately, these misguided youths some of whom who are supposedly socio activist to fight for the right of oppressed people are the once been used by some self-serving greedy leaders. They did not only exhibit their crash ignorance but went as far as showcasing their wickedness, age-long greed and deep hatred for the Ijaw people of Edo State.
For the records, the existence of the Ijaws in Gele-Gele gbene community and every other Ijaw communities in present day Edo State pre -dates the existence of Nigeria and Edo State as political entities. By that we mean, we did not come to meet Nigeria here, but Nigeria met us in our land and Edo State met us here.
The Ijaw people are aborigines of the lands they occupy in Edo state; they are not tenants, not slaves, not settlers neither do they owe any one any explanation of how and why they occupy their own God given territory just as the fact that they have never paid homages or rents to anyone living or dead by any form whatsoever. And will NEVER and Can NEVER do so not even in the world to come.
The Ijaws are not cowards, they have never been conquered by any tribe or ethnic group what so ever throughout history.
There are no issues as to the lands subject matter of any legal tussle which are subject of appeal at various levels.
That the Ijaws of Edo state are a creation of an unfortunate boundary misadjustment orchestrated by their oppressors from the military government at State and Federal levels even after their protest against such balkanization and forced marriage to their unfriendly neighbours.
The then military government directed that the areas occupied by the Ijaws of Edo State be administered by the then Warri province now Warri North local government area of Delta state but successive governments failed to honour the directive till date.

Even the 1987 Nbanefo Constituent Assembly report where it was explicitly recommended that the Ijaws of ‎Ovia be given separate Local Government Area for their high population, rich in natural resources, not assimilated by the Binis and far from the seat of governance is a good case in point. ‎

For the drums of war been beaten by these Bini miscreants, we wish to state it categorically clear that the Ijaws are not strangers to ethnic crisis as a results of their oppressive paranoiac neighbors around them from Ondo, Delta and Edo states. Therefore, let it be known that we are equal to the task by any means possible.
The Ijaws occupy 5 Clans in Edo State were are Egbema, Olodiama, Furupagha, Okomu and Gbaraun. These clans cutting across Ovia South West and North East and Ikpoba Okah local governments areas of Edo State.
All the Clans consisting of over 900 Communities are mostly Oil producing or Oil bearing contributing to the revenue of the State and by extension the Federal government of Nigeria.
The history of these Clans predates the history of Benin. See the book ‘A Short History of Benin”, Ibadan University Press, 1968, page 1’ by a renowned Bini historian, Late Chief Dr. J. U Egharebva.
The Ijaws have avoided unnecessary avoidable crisis with their neighbors particularly when there are elements of inter marriage.
By nature the Ijaws are peace loving people having accommodated the Itsekiris, Urhobos, Binis, Ilajes etc.
The Ijaws are not easily provoked but when they are pushed to the wall then there is bound to be over-reaction.
There have been previous provocative statements, actions and inaction of the Binis mostly from highly placed citizens who are supposed to be role model of peace and unity. These careless and reckless statements which would have long led to serious ethnic crisis but Ijaw elders have consistently toed the path of reasoning which could not be read to mean that they are afraid. It’s a capital NO and an aberration to think that Ijaws are afraid of any ethnic group anywhere.
Consequently we urge the monarch ‘The Oba of Benin’ to caution his wards and prevail on them not to provoke us into crisis which may not be in the interests of anyone.
Finally the Ijaws are law abiding citizens and will not relent in ensuring peaceful co-existence with others. However this is not to say that we are not prepared to protect our territorial boundaries using every lawful means even if it will take our last blood.
To fore warned is to be forearmed.
Long live the Ijaw Nation!!!
Long live Edo State!!!!
Long live Nigeria!!!

Hon. Comrade Samson Uroupa ‎‎

National Coordinator, Coastal Mandate for Peace and Development. (CMPD)


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