The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Gbaramatu chapter, have lashed out at the Delta State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Hon. Mofe Pirah, over his comment on the ownership of Okerenkoko, the host community of the Maritime University.
In a statement, titled “Re: Ugborodo can’t speak for Itsekiri, Omadino,” IYC, described Pirah’s statement as malicious.
The wordy statement signed on behalf of the groups by Doubura Wuruyai, Friday Erotimide and Frank Ekpemupolo, as Chairman, Information Officer and Representative, respectively, took exception to the comment by the commissioner in a national daily publication, that the Ijaws should negotiate with the Omadino people.
The statement, said they were further angered by another part of the statement that refers to the Ijaws as settlers in the host community.
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement published on Vanguard Newspaper on February 11, 2018, credited to the Honourable Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Delta State, Hon. Mofe Pirah, where he was reported to have asked the good Ijaw people of Gbaramatu Kingdom to sit in a round table with the Omadino people to negotiate on what should be the name of Okerenkoko, an autonomous Ijaw enclave.
“He further maliciously labeled the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom as ‘settlers’ who, according to him must discuss percentage with the people of Omadino concerning the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.”
The groups averred that they were responding to the Commissioner’s statement because of his exalted position as a member of the State Executive Council ”and who by the virtue of his position, is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace and security in the state.”
“It is surprising that a Commissioner for Oil and Gas who by the virtue of his position, is not only a representative of the Itsekiri ethnic group, but all other oil producing communities in the state including the Ijaws and the Urhobos as well, to leverage on such lofty portfolio, fit for just, detribalized individuals to convey the sentiment of some section of the Itsekiri people who are bent on owning modern day slaves in furtherance of the defunct British imperial rule system.
The group likened the call by the Commissioner, to that of the Biblical situation, where the owner of a child resisted attempt to divide her son in King Solomon’s court.
“Hon. Mofe’s call for the Ijaws of Gbaramatu to share percentage with the Itsekiri further establishes the fact that it is only a person who do not naturally birth a child that will seek for his or her division as evident in the Biblical case between two women who took their case to the Palace of King Solomon over the rightful ownership of a child.
“We are miffed that Hon. Mofe Pirah, as a member of the State Executive Council and as part of the kitchen cabinet of the Governor now pretends not to know how the land for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University was acquired from the Okerenkoko people by the previous Governor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, his own kinsman.
“Perhaps, Hon. Mofe may have forgotten the due process the land acquisition followed before compensation was duly paid to the Okerenkoko people as the rightful owners of the said land. One would wonder where Hon. Mofe was, when all these processes were legitimately concluded?”
The statement reminded Hon. Mofe that by virtue of his position, that he is supposed to be above board and non-partisan in the issue, while calling on the state governor to call him to order.
“We advise His Excellency Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa to, as a matter of urgency call Hon. Mofe Pirah to order.
“The Governor should ask Hon. Mofe to either choose to continue to occupy his current office in the state as a detribalized person representing the Ijaws, Urhobos and Itsekiris, or immediately resign from same.
“We, the good Ijaw people of Gbaramatu Kingdom cannot continue to watch Hon. Mofe to leverage on state apparatus to fight against the interest of Ijaw nation.
“Put straight, no Gbaramatu leader will for whatsoever reason sit with any Itsekiri community to discuss sharing formula on any project whatsoever, coming to Okerenkoko land, as this very act questions our collective existence as Gbaramatu people which we owe blood allegiance to defend,” the statement added.