With 7days left for the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum issued on the 7th of December, 2017 by the Ijaw Freedom Fighter to the Edo State Government and the Oba of Benin,the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday met with the leaders of Edo-Ijaws who made a commitment to peaceful co-existence, agreeing to work together for the socio-economic development of the state.
At the meeting, the Ijaw leaders declared that they have been living peacefully with their Benin brothers for centuries and were ready to deepen the relationship especially with the planned development of their area by the Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
On his part, the governor while speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting stated that ‘there have been some angry publications in the newspapers and as a government, we have decided to have a conversation with our Ijaw brothers and sisters to understand what is really wrong, from our findings, the publications were sponsored by outsiders.
He added that The Edo Ijaws have lived here for many years so they understand the customs and traditions of the land.
“I guess some other fellows from outside of the state perceived some threats; have seen the pace at which we were developing the area; to build an ultra-modern port in Gelegele area and those are all developments that suddenly led to the agitations”.
The governor further explained that the Edo government and the Ijaw community have taken a stand that law and order must be maintained in the area to allow for meaningful development.
He pointed out that his administration is determined to develop every part of the state and the Gelegele area would not be excluded from the plan.
He also stressed that they have agreed to work with the state government while adding that the Ijaw community also agreed to support his government in tackling security threats in their area.
The governor also gave his assurance to construct one of the major roads leading to the community which was abandoned by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) about five years ago.
Responding, a leader from Gelegele Community, Hon. Prince Barbs Pawuru commended the governor for the heart-to-heart meeting with the Ijaw community and expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.
Pawuru further explained that Ijaw people are peace-loving people and are ready to work with the Edo government to ensure law and order in the community.
“We highlighted the issues and the governor understood them, we are so satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, we are going home to tell our people we should embrace peace, the Ijaw people are peace-loving people, we want peace, but there cannot be peace with injustice.
The governor said the Ijaws in Edo are no strangers, we have been here for centuries and we have never had problems, but all of a sudden it came up”, he said.