•Urged Esimaje Awani to stop distorting history
•The military should respect the rights of the people
•We are behind Tompolo and cannot sacrifice him for any reason – Oweilaemi
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has declared that the Okerenkoko community of Gbaramatu Kingdom is not and has never been an Itsekiri community.
IYC, in the same vein, advised the President of Itsekiri Youths Council, Awani Esimaje to stop distorting history through the dissemination of false information.
The group stated this today through its President, Comr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi in a chat with GbaramatuVoice.
According to IYC, “Our attention has been drawn to a vexed and rather provocative news publication authored by Mr Esimaje Awani, National President of the Itsekiri Youth Council (NYC) in the Vanguard Newspaper of November 10th 2017 edition at page 33.
In the said publication, Esimaje claimed that Okerenkoko community in Gbaramatu Kingdom belongs to Itsekiri people.
Debunking this erroneous claim, Comr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi explained that historical accounts which the Itsekiri nation held to, has also affirmed through their respected scholars and historians that they are tenants to Ijaw people.
In his words, “The history of the first settlers of the Escravos River, Benin River and all the adjoining tributaries are well documented up to date and none of them claimed that Itsekiri people owned Okerenkoko land or any part of Gbaramatu Kingdom. There are no judicial pronouncements in any court in Nigeria that said Okerenkoko land belonged to the Itsekiri people.
IYC Worldwide further pointed out that the so-called Okenghigho Supreme Court judgment the INYC President is talking about has nothing to do with Okerenkoko.
As far as the Ijaw nation is concerned, he continued, “No judgment has precluded the people of Okerenkoko from exercising the traditional and customary ownership of their lands which they have been living in for centuries beyond human memories.
In the same token, the Barrister turned activist explained that there has never been a time the Itsekiri people instituted an action in Court against Okerenkoko people and succeeded.
He quickly added that, “the only one we know is still subject to litigation pending at the Supreme Court. It is the Gbaramatu people that even won the Itsekiris at the Court of Appeal.
IYC rue for the Itsekiris for still having such notion that only exist in their imagination while adding that they, the Itsekiris should take their surreptitious Supreme Court judgment about the unknown Okerenghigho to where they can find it.
“No inch of Ijaw land, be it in the Gbaramatu Kingdom or any part thereof will be ceded to the Itsekiri land grabbers. The Maritime University at Okerenkoko is the only known legal name to call the University. There is no alternative to that,” the IYC President insisted.
He, therefore, advised the general public, particularly the Federal Government to disregard the mischievous claim of Mr. Esimaje Awani or any of the Itsekiris’ adverse claimants about Okerenkoko land.
IYC further advised the Itsekiri people to join the peace-building team in the region for the purpose of achieving their common goal which he listed as; resource control, true federalism, self-determination and political autonomy.
In a related development, “IYC has been duly informed that soldiers from Operation Delta Safe in the name of looking for NDA are harassing innocent villagers in Warri South West and Burutu LGAs of Delta State.
Comr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi acknowledged that the military is constitutionally bound to checkmate criminal activities in the creeks or anywhere in Nigeria. “However, the discharge of its responsibilities is not without limits. The military must draw a line between discharging its functions and breaching human rights.
He also frowned at the manner the military personnel are disrupting the peace of these innocent communities while claiming on the pages of newspapers that the military chased Avengers in Delta creeks is to say the least, an unprofessional propaganda.
“If there is any crime in those communities, he opined, let the military get the person arrested but we cannot accept calling the people in Ogbe-Ijoh, Ogulagha and Gbaramatu Kingdoms as Avengers.”
IYC called on the Federal Government to leave High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alone.
“They can engage in whatsoever business they so desire for the perpetuation of their criminal agenda but Tompolo’s name should not be dragged in.”
They finally stated that the Ijaw nation is standing behind him. “We cannot sacrifice Tompolo this time around unlike the way our forefathers unknowingly sacrificed Maj. Jasper Isaac Adaka Boro to the oppressive Federal Government which had led to his untimely death in 1968.”