An Ijaw religious group, the Order of Egbesu Brotherhood (OEB), has warned of consequences if the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, failed to withdraw his order to arrest the King of Olodiama Kingdom, HRM Godwin Oguyenbo.
The brotherhood in a statement, Thursday, said the Ijaw would consider any attempt to arrest the monarch as a desecration and abuse of its traditional stool.
The statement, which was signed by the Coordinator of OEB, Mr. Bodmass Kemepadei, said the governor was only acting the scripts of the Oba of Benin, who earlier declared the coronation of Oguyenbo as unlawful.
“We wish to inform the governor that we are aware that he is only carrying out the directive of the Oba of Benin. We are, therefore, surprised why on earth an Ijaw affair will be giving the Bini people a sleepless night to the extent that they had to usurp the state power against us”, the OEB said.
The foremost Ijaw traditional religious group faulted Obaseki’s claim that the ijaw community in the area was nonexistent, describing it as a clear display of sheer ignorance.
The group said the ijaw people had proved with historical fact that they were the aborigines of those lands adding that the second-class treatment they suffered in the hands of the Benin Kingdom.
The OEB said: “The ijaws deemed it necessary to have a monarch that would be significant for the growth and development of the people and lands. Besides this is not the first time the Kingdom is having a King.
“We also deduce that though it is the voice of Obaseki, but the words of the royal father of Benin Kingdom is behind the order of arrest issued, simply because they want to annex Olodiama kingdom into Benin Kingdom, because of the oil and seaport sited there.
“We therefore call on Obaseki to desist from actions that are capable of causing acrimony between Binis and Ijaws. Obaseki as the administrative head of the state should rather be concerned about moves that will bring peace.
“He should not brew another crisis in the face of the already-existing tension created by militants groups. The Ijaws are not at war with binis, but we are also not afraid to defend our territory if the need arises.
“We have been living in peace and we would continue to maintain it, but obaseki should thread with caution, let him stop beating the drums of war. The governor should not allow himself to be used as a tool of instigating violence and causing unrest. He has no right to order for the arrest of a well-recognised King who has flouted no law”.
The group called on the Federal Government to call Obaseki to order to avert a possible inter-tribal war in the state.
It urged the government to stop security agencies from carrying out the order of the governor and look for other means of resolving the issue.
“Arresting an Ijaw king is a sacrilege and will be resisted by Ijaws.We restate once again that Ijaws are committed to peace. This, we have displayed by supporting federal government peace effort. But we will not accept any action aimed at desecrating our sacred institutions”.