The Itsekiri people of Ugborodo community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, have written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the state government of initiating actions that might jeopardize the peace being enjoyed by the communities in the state.
According to the letter to the President which was signed by Pa Douglas Omagbemi (Ugborodo community), Pa Pasco Oritsegbami (Elder, Ugborodo community) and Hon Thomas Metseagharun (The Toritsemogha of Ugborodo) the community which have severally claimed that it is not part of the Warri/Itsekiri Kingdom, told the President that Governor Okowa’s plans to deploy soldiers to the community will be tantamount to sowing the seeds of discord, thereby setting a possible crises within the community.
The elders of the community added that, president Buhari should as a matter of urgency stop the planned invasion of their community by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who they alleged is planning to send military personnel into their community.
In the letter, the people fumed over an alleged plan of the Governor to send military personnel to their area, describing the move as; “consciously ill-advised and bad decision by the Delta State Government led by Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State and his Deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro.”
The letter continues; “It has come to our knowledge that there are plans currently ongoing to send military personnel to a hitherto peaceful Ugborodo community.
“With due respect and recourse to the rule of law and respect for properly constituted authority, this is a consciously ill-advised and bad decision by the Delta State Government led by Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the governor of Delta State and his deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro.”
“We wish to restate our stand that Ugborodo is not a part of the Warri/Itsekiri kingdom and that this should not be misconstrued as fomenting trouble but rather, putting the record straight and being on the right side of truth on this issue which we have consistently stated.
“We have usually and continue to live peacefully with our neighbours (The Gbaramatu Kingdom) and all we ask is to be left alone to continue living in peace” the letter added.
They also wrote; “We write to you because as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, we are constrained and led to believe that any such wholesale movement of military personnel is within your purview and as such, we would advise restraint and a “stand-down order”, as this single action is capable of jeopardizing the current fragile peace that we enjoy in Ugborodo and possibly distort the peaceful operation of the oil companies currently operating within the locality”.
“Mr President, we want you to know that there is an existing Police Station in Mandagho. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) lives in Chevron Tank Farm, a stone throw from Arunton and we are therefore surprised that the Delta State Government, led by Governor Okowa is planning to send another group of security personnel to our area if there is no hidden agenda. This move must be stopped by the President”, they further wrote.
While reminding the President of the unfortunate Warri crisis, they posited that; “We would also like to draw the attention of the President to the events that followed the relocation of the Warri South West local government Area headquarters from Ogbe-Ijoh to Ogidigben, which caused years of conflict and caused the loss of lives and properties including, but not limited to the oil companies operating in the area, as well as numerous and an unclear number of citizens. Those who refused to learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. The letter claimed.
A government that is supposed to protect lives and properties of the citizenry, they said should not be seen to be taking sides with an oppressive and divisive group that does not reside in our communities to cause disharmony among the law abiding people of Ugborodo.
“Instead of sending security agents to cause crisis in Ugborodo and its environs, it would seem that such efforts would be better geared towards retrieving monies given to these same divisive elements as contracts for the development of our communities, which they have blatantly not carried out.
The people used the medium to call on the Government to retrieve said funds meant for their development which have been sadly redirected and diverted to private individuals and pockets.
They also wrote that; “Furthermore, we ask the President to caution the Dr Ifeanyi Okowa led government of Delta State to stop fanning the embers of conflict which had been absent in the area for a while and which has led to the general peace in not just Ugborodo but its environs.
“The Governor and his Deputy should be stopped from taking sides and possibly starting a general level of lawlessness and violence that could be averted by simply allowing the people of Ugborodo to continue to live in peace with their neighbours.”