The people of Diebiri Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state have appealed to the State Government to resettle them back to their ancestral home .
They were allegedly sacked from their ancestral home in 1995 during a communal clash with Aladja community.
The Councillor representing Diebiri Ward in Warri South West Council Area, Hon Frank M. Pukon who spoke to our correspondent in Warri, said that if the state government went ahead with the commission of inquiry to settle the people of Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja people without first resettling them, they may be forced to look for other means to take back their ancestral home.
The Councillor lamented that his people have been suffering since they were sacked by the Aladja people, claiming that government refused to listen to them and address their plight.
According to him, his people have written series of letters to the government without success.
Hon Pukon claimed that on May 25,1995, the Diebiri community was sacked by their neighbours, the Aladja people, in a fight that does not concern them.
He said since the invasion, the Delta State Government has not deem it fit to resettle the people of the community to their ancestral home.
The Councillor lamented that the state government under the administration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has gone ahead to set up a commission of enquiry into the land dispute between the people of Ogbe-Ijoh community and Aladja community without thinking of resettling the people of Diebiri kingdom that were allegedly sacked by Aladja community 21 years ago.
Hon Pukon therefore, appealed to the State Government to first of all resettle the people of Deibiri community before going ahead with the commission of inquiry set up to resolve the land dispute between the people of Ogbe-Ijoh and the Aladja people.
He said, “I am appealing to the governor on behalf of my people that he should look into this matter and intervene. We want to go back to our ancestral home.”
He added that the people of Deibiri kingdom were scattered all over the place without any hope of going back to their community that was forcefully taken from them.
He said, “We have written several letters to the state governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa without any positive action. But we were surprised to hear that he has set up a commission of inquiry to settle the land dispute between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja people. We are using this medium to appeal to the state government to first of all talk about the resettlement of Diebiri kingdom before talking about the land dispute between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja. Today, the Ogbe-Ijoh people and the Aladja people are living in their ancestral homes while we are sacked from ours.
” With due respect to the state government, for fact that some of us are in government, our people are accusing us of selling our birthright because they feel we are playing politics with the resettlement of Deibiri community and if the government does not do anything about it, they may be forced me to seek self help, which I think will not be too good”, the Councillor stated.
Hon Pukon added, “Diebiri is a Clan of it’s own. These are people who signed a treaty with the British Government in March 30th, 1893. These are people that are recognized by the British Government. However, we have our offshoot of over 28 communities. The Batan community alone produces over 40,000 barrels of oil per day. We also have other oil producing communities in Deibiri kingdom.”
“The issue is that Aladja, Ogbe-Ijoh, Diebiri and Ovwian are neighbours. The problem we have is that there was a land dispute between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja but the Diebiri people were not involved in the land dispute. But at that time, there was transfer of aggression from the Aladja people to Diebiri community. So, for the fact that the Ogbe-Ijoh people are Ijaws and Diebiri people are Ijaws too, the Aladja people who are Urhobos, felt that they could transfer their anger on us, Diebiri people, which now led to the sack of Diebiri community. Governor Okowa is the Chief Security officer of this state and it is his duty to protect lives and property of his people and this is why I am urging him to do the needful now for my people by resettling them in their ancestral home”, he stated.